Truancy: AM hosts react to Christopher Luxon's get-tough approach to New Zealand's poor attendance rates at schools

Christopher Luxon's tough talk on how to tackle truancy brought mixed reactions from the AM hosts on Tuesday's show. 

Last week in an AM interview, Luxon said some of the blame should fall on school leaders who weren't doing a good enough job at getting children in the classroom. 

"There is a mixed standard of leadership across our schools and across our principals that actually means they're not focussing as strongly on getting kids to school as they can," he said. 

On Monday, Luxon pointed the finger at parents and had no time for their excuses.

"You chose to have these kids, you have to wake up at 7am, get your kids to school at 8am," he said.

"You have now got subsidised free lunches, free breakfasts, subsidised period products, subsidised school uniforms.

"There is no excuses. What we have in New Zealand is a culture of excuses."

It came after figures showed just 40 percent of children went to school regularly in term two this year.

AM co-host Ryan Bridge said on the show on Tuesday Luxon is right that it is a moral and social failure and a future economic crisis.

"When kids don't go to school, future Ryans [Ryan Bridge] and Oriinis [Oriini Kaipara] suffer because you've got a large number of people who are disengaged and it's very hard to get people back on the right track if they haven't got a basic education and things like that, so it is a big issue," Bridge said. 

Fill-in co-host Amanda Gillies said it's become tougher for parents since the COVID-19 pandemic but agreed responsibility lies with the them to get their kids to school. 

"I think that's [COVID-19] been a game changer for families ... all of a sudden they were staying at home, they quite liked that, a lot of them have got a lot of mental health issues, they struggle being back in the classroom now," Gillies said. 

"But I do think the parents have a huge responsibility to get their kids to school. I think that's part of being a parent." 

Newsreader Oriini Kaipara said New Zealand's truancy issues can't be solely put down to one group of people. 

"He's [Luxon] taking on that tough guy role ... and also it's short-term relief for a long-term problem. You can't just say parents are the problem," she said. 

"You cannot blame just one thing whether it's a parent, a principal or the Government, there's a whole raft of issues and we know about this." 

Watch the moment above.