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State Sector Act amendments miss the point

Media Release
3 December 2003

State Sector Act amendments miss the point

State Services and Education Minister Trevor Mallard was introducing changes to the State Services Act for all the wrong reasons, PPTA president Phil Smith said today.

Mr Smith said Mr Mallard’s main purpose appeared to be to exact revenge on PPTA, and school boards who did not deduct the pay of striking teachers during the last secondary teachers’ collective agreement round.

“Rather than attempting to punish PPTA because many boards and communities supported teachers in the last collective round, Mr Mallard should be thinking about why he got it wrong in 2001-2002,” Mr Smith said.

“Teachers who take strike action are not doing it because they expect a holiday. They know the consequences of their action (i.e. no pay) and take principled stands in defence of the quality of secondary education.

“Boards of Trustees supported them for the same reasons.”

Mr Smith said Mr Mallard should focus on resolving the current problems in secondary education. These included problems with teacher workload, recruiting and retaining heads of department and teachers of subjects such as Maori, computing and technology, many of whom hold degree equivalent (G3) qualifications and are paid less than their colleagues with degrees.

“Just when we find a workable solution to the G3 issue, people within the Ministry and the Minister’s office with no expertise in qualifications development meddle with it so it is no longer viable.

“Mr Mallard has made some positive steps during his time as Minister, particularly around extra staffing for secondary schools to enable more time for teachers to undertake non-teaching duties.

“However, in other matters he seems unable to put the past behind him and move forward. He ought to know by now that sorting out the current problems will do more to reduce disruption to classrooms than this right-wing legislation.

“Perhaps it is time for someone with less baggage to take secondary education forward.”

Ends

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