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Teachers' Strike Action Set To Take Off

7 October 2001

Disruptive strike action is now a certainty for New Zealand secondary schools, National's Education spokesperson Gerry Brownlee said today.

"PPTA plans a strike day for Thursday 11 October and weekly hour-long stoppages after that. This comes at the most important term for senior pupils and is a disaster for the Education Minister.

"In Opposition Trevor Mallard promised the earth to teachers. Now he's in Government he's sold them out to buy up large on assets the Government doesn't need.

"Labour has spent up large on corporate welfare - the Air New Zealand bailout, the Auckland rail deal and the People's Bank. When these are combined with Cullen's Superfund, there's no money left in the kitty for the very people Labour promised to help.

"The pay increase secondary teachers have been holding out for will amount to nothing now the Government has emptied the bank account.

"Secondary teachers are in short supply with a predicted 1,800 too few by 2004. Attracting good people to the profession should now be a priority. Improved salaries can help with recruitment.

"Teachers also have a hard task ahead of them next year with the implementation of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement. The goodwill Mr Mallard is demanding teachers show in this task has not been reciprocated by the Government in pay negotiations.

"The $885 million bailout for Air New Zealand could have given every one of New Zealand's more than 38,000 teachers a 5% pay rise every year for the next seven years, or a one-off rise of around 40%!

"The Government is too busy playing monopoly with taxpayers' money to focus on core social services like health and education," Mr Brownlee said.

ENDS


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