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Blair And Clark Poles Apart On Education

"Helen Clark has proudly boasted about its common policy agenda with the Blair Labour Government, saying "you couldn't even fit a slice of bread between us" but in reality you could drive a bread truck between their education agendas.

"The recent announcement by United Kingdom Education Secretary Rt Hon David Blunkett to bulk fund all 24,000 schools in the UK shows just how out of step the New Zealand Government is with education policy internationally.

"It is ironic that Labour's announcement to abolish bulk funding of schools was made on the same day that they announced bulk funding of primary health care. The Minister of Education has further highlighted the inconsistency by relaunching National's bulk funding programme for school property as part of the Budget," Dr Smith said.

Parliament today debated the Education and Science Select Committee report on the Education Amendment Bill that abolishes bulk funding. The committee received over 6,700 submissions (94%) opposed to the Bill.

"The submissions overwhelmingly show that the education of hundreds of thousands of children is being enhanced by the flexibility and fairness of bulk funding. The only explanation for Labour's inconsistent stance is its payback obligations to the teacher unions," Dr Smith said.

Ends

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