A complaint about creationism being taught at a private Auckland school is a “cheap political hit”, National leader Simon Bridges says.
Bridges’ sister Rachel O’Connor, who is married to National MP Simon O’Connor, is a science teacher at Mt Hobson Middle School.
A former student at the school has told Newsroom that creationism was being taught in preference to evolution.
The student said that in 2016, O’Connor showed a science class a video called Science Has Found Proof of the Existence of God, which “twisted” scientific argument.
“It strikes me in terms of whoever’s involved, there’s a bit of a cheap political hit here. It’s a private Christian school. I don’t know the ins and outs of the rules on what should be taught but that school should be teaching the government curricular in this area. Everything I’ve seen and understand suggests they are.”
Bridges said he didn’t know what his sister’s beliefs were but “she’s a New Zealander and she should be able to believe whatever she wants”.
He said he believed in evolution but that had nothing to do with the issue. He would “absolutely not” talk to his sister about it.
“I’m not going to deign to do something like that on a cheap political hit job.”
Mt Hobson Middle School is run by Villa Education Trust, which also has two charter schools.
Alwyn Poole, a Villa Education Trust board member and principal of Mt Hobson Middle School, said Rachel O’Connor was a superb teacher and “very balanced and open in all that she presents”.