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Donna’s Right, Says Prebble

Tuesday 13 Nov 2001

ACT Leader Richard Prebble has come to the defence of ACT MP Donna Awatere Huata, who was today the subject of a personal attack by Education Minister Trevor Mallard.

"Donna Awatere Huata's campaign to improve the ability of New Zealand children to read has the full support of the ACT party - and I believe it should be supported by every MP," Mr Prebble said.

"The Parliamentary Select Committee inquiry into reading took over 18 months to complete, heard evidence not only from educational professionals, but also from concerned parents and employers, over New Zealand's declining reading standards.

"The Education Minister Mr Mallard is ignoring irrefutable evidence that our schools are failing to teach too many of our children how to read. As a parent, I know this to be true.

"The ideological refusal of education bureaucrats to recognise the failure of a one-size-fits-all whole language reading programme is a scandal.

"It is a disgrace for Minister Trevor Mallard to attempt to justify his refusal to act to improve children's ability to read by a vicious personal attack on Donna Awatere Huata - who is a recognised world leader in teaching children to read.

"ACT will not be intimidated. My party regards having an education system that produces students with reading and writing skills to be able to earn a living as a top priority for the country and we are prepared to make it an election issue," Richard Prebble said.


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