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Nick Smith is wrong

11 February 2001 Media Statement

Nick Smith is wrong

Education Minister Trevor Mallard said National education spokesperson Nick Smith’s distortion of net migration figures is painting an inaccurate reflection on school roll growth.

“Dr Smith is creating confusion by claiming that the year has begun with an additional 7000 students,” Trevor Mallard said.

“He is wrong. When I announced increased secondary school rolls in Auckland, I mentioned an exceptional mix of circumstances that means that more students have turned up in Auckland secondary schools than previously thought. Decreased emigration, returning New Zealanders, and increased immigration are likely to have contributed to the pressure.

“The background is this. Late last year, the Immigration Service and Statistics Department updated their projections for net migrants – a significant change from -6000 to 20,000. The flow on effect of that was that the Ministry of Education updated its increased roll projections through net migration from 1300 to 7000. While that change was taken into account for national school roll projections , the projected changes were developed too late to be fully analysed at a regional level. I believe that has been one contributing factors to the unexpected increase in Auckland numbers. Retention of senior students, and internal migration (mainly through employment) may have been other contributing factors.

“While roll returns have not been completed – it is now estimated that there will be more than 61,000 students in the Auckland area instead of just over 59,000 as projected. The nationwide projections are not expected to significantly change but it will not be possible to gauge a more accurate picture until after the March 1 roll returns.

“The Ministry is working closely with Auckland schools to ensure that all students receive a quality education.

“National have been vocal critics of what they have termed the ‘brain drain’. Now that there is evidence to suggest that this is reversing – they are looking for something else to criticise. They should welcome the news that New Zealand, under this Government, is a great place in which to live,” Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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