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Mallard bullies private schools

Gerry Brownlee National Education Spokesperson

3 October 2001

Mallard bullies private schools

Education Minister Trevor Mallard's attack on the tax status of private schools is despicable and an abuse of his power as Minister, National's Education spokesperson Gerry Brownlee said today.

"The Minster must assure private schools that he's not following the Prime Minister's example of using privileged information to give advice to the public.

"I was present at the PPTA conference last week during which Mr Mallard said that as Education Minister he couldn't draw the tax status of private schools to the attention of the Inland Revenue Department but that someone else could," Mr Brownlee said.

Mr Brownlee questioned Mr Mallard on his comments in Parliament today. Mr Mallard stood by his remarks and, under the protection of parliamentary privilege, accused Strathallan School of a tax dodge over its lease status. He did not clarify his views on the tax status of other private schools.

"This sort of attack by the Education Minister on private schools is nothing more than an abuse of his power. No wonder he's known as Parliament's bully.

"Private schools are amongst New Zealand's top education providers. While Mr Mallard is intent to skite to his PPTA buddies that the per student funding to private schools will be reduced by 2.24% because of the Government's cap on funding, we should not forget that they save the state around $2,700 per pupil in costs every year.

"Mr Mallard's philosophical problem with private schools focused on competition and providing a quality education is no reason to launch such an attack," Mr Brownlee said.

Ends


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