8 September 2005
Desperate attempt to divert attention
The National Party’s plan to lodge complaints over union advertising is an increasingly desperate attempt to divert attention away from their links to biased leaflets put out by members of the fundamentalist Exclusive Brethren, PPTA general secretary Kevin Bunker said today.
“The National Party is attacking unions to draw attention from its strange bedfellows and also its inability to clearly outline how it would operate its education policies such as salaries bulk funding.
He said claims by National’s state services spokesman Murray McCully in relation to PPTA advertising had no basis.
In addition, figures detailing how much PPTA had spent on advertising were incorrect and exaggerated.
“Our Executive endorsed a campaign of messages designed to support public education and highlight the risks of policies that undermine it.
“Our ads focus on the issues and promote long-held membership policy - support for public education and zoning, support for improving the NCEA, and opposition to salaries bulk funding.
“PPTA felt it needed to inform the debate around these issues and through its ads invite wider consideration of them. This is entirely consistent with the principle of freedom of expression in a democratic society.
“We have been entirely upfront about the fact that we are opposed to some elements of published education policy but in no way do our ads attack the National party or its politicians, or tell anyone who to vote for.”
Mr Bunker said PPTA promoted its policies openly and honestly and would be more than happy to be investigated by the Chief Electoral Officer.
“We do not disguise who we are, what we are saying or why we are saying it.
“PPTA supports a robust public education system that works for all our kids. The public is entitled to conclude whatever it likes about our ads but we trust people will recognise that secondary teachers have a unique and important perspective that ought to be heard.”