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Pay Parity Cost Not Suppressed - Nats

Nick Smith Opposition Education Spokesperson

Pay Parity Cost Not Suppressed - Nats

Former Education Minister Nick Smith has dismissed claims by the new Government that an error by Ministry of Education and Treasury officials in calculating the cost of implementing pay parity was intentionally hidden by Ministers to mislead the public.

"The error was entirely officials and both I and the Treasurer at the time received apologies for the error. The suggestion that Ministers opted to hide the error is just ridiculous. It was determined that the matter would be corrected in the annual round of supplementary estimates."

"The claim that this would have made a material difference to the PREFU is just political posturing. Following the publication of the PREFU there were a number of significant changes that substantially improved the fiscal position. Notably was a huge reduction of hundreds of millions of dollars in the tail of Accident Compensation as a result of much improved rehabilitation, increased tax revenues and lower numbers on unemployment benefits from stronger than anticipated growth. Any fiscal report changes by the week and in the period from the publication of the PREFU to the Election Day, the fiscal position substantially improved."

"There will always be unders and overs. Mr Mallard's criticisms would only be valid were he to suggest that Ministers also hid substantial improvements in tax take, ACC liabilities and numbers of unemployed."

Ends

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