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Labour Westcoast Quandary - The Labour Party admits it is in a quandary over how to create job growth and business on the West Coast without controversial logging of native forests. The Government has been attacked by the conservation quarter over its vote-catching policy to allow sustainable logging of beech forests. The West Coast seat is partly held by Labour’s Damien O’Connor. But he is under pressure to retain his seat if Labour comes out with a policy against logging. Party leader Helen Clark says the policy has yet to be announced and that the caucus is having a debate on the topic. Ms Clark has signalled her concern about the Timberlands plan. She says the logging will claim few jobs on the West Coast anyway and that the logs will be transported to Christchurch for processing.

Education Minister Unsympathetic To Parity Demands - Education Minister Nick Smith is lending an unsympathetic ear in response to Kindergarten teacher’s demands for parity with primary school colleagues. Any move to parity he says with unfairly discriminate against other early childhood education teachers. Dr Smith says it would be “grossly unfair” to give 1600 kindergarten teachers parity while leaving out another 16,000 early childhood teachers, many of whom he says have identical qualifications. He says it would cost another $130 million to $150 million to give all early childhood teachers the same pay.

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