National MP Judith Collins criticised Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s decision to cut charter schools.
Labour's Education Minister Chris Hipkins has introduced a Bill that would end the controversial alternative education system by the end of 2018.
Ms Collins joined on The AM Show on Friday, challenging the Government’s decision.
"You know what I'd really like to see this Government show a bit of leadership on? That's protecting those poor little kids in charter schools - kids that these guys are just consigning to the scrap heap," she said.
Protect those kids and stand up to those union bullies.
Host Duncan Garner agreed with her, telling Labour MP Phil Twyford he was damaging the students' futures.
"You're closing schools that are helping young people that have failed in state schools actually get ahead," he said.
While Mr Twyford agreed that some of these schools were doing well, he argued Labour wasn't closing them - just closing the charter school model.
"Nothing has changed... the model is going to go. That doesn't mean schools will go," he says.
The New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) has welcomed the move, saying charter schools have proven to have been an expensive, but ultimately failed, experiment.
"They didn't work - that was fundamentally the issue," NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter told RadioLIVE's First@Five.
"It was, in our view, a dangerous diversion away from the need to lift our whole public education system."
But Alwyn Poole, academic advisor for Villa Education Trust, which operates three charter schools in Auckland, said he felt blind-sided by the Government's decision.
"The first few weeks after the election, Jacinda Ardern in the house promised an easy transition," he told The AM Show on Friday morning.
"Hipkins has promised an easy transition for a long time, so his operation yesterday in throwing out that 'if you don't close, we'll close you for you', was a huge surprise."
But Ms Collins said the model works for the children who need it.
"I've listened to Phil. He's doing his best to defend the indefensible," she says.
"These school kids have been in the school system for long enough that it's failed them and they're railed in int. They need something else.
"They're the poor little victims of a big fat mean union and a Government that will do whatever that union wants. It's just disgraceful."
Watch the full panel with Judith Collins and Phil Twyford above.
The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.
This article was originally published by Newshub, with alterations made by RadioLIVE..