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Labour Bites The Hand That Feeds

18 February 2002

LABOUR BITES THE HAND THAT FEEDS

Today's rejection by secondary teachers of the government's pay settlement is a clear case of biting the hand that feeds, says United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne.

"The very teachers who voted to reject the government's offer were the same ones who campaigned so enthusiastically for Labour's election two years ago."

"They were led to believe that as a consequence they would get a better deal."

"Now, they have been rewarded for their support by a pay settlement that is well below many other settlements in recent months."

"Labour has taken teachers' support for granted and in making such a small offer has literally bit the hand that fed it so well at election time," he says.

However, Mr Dunne says the big losers from this ongoing dispute are the students, especially those who are facing the first year of NCEA.

"As a parent with a child in that group, I am extremely concerned about what lies ahead, with strikes now seen as inevitable."

"The government has to face up to the crisis in education its complacency over teachers' political support has caused, and reconstruct its offer to address the points that led to its clear rejection by rank and file teachers."

"Also, the PPTA will have to rethink the wisdom of its strategy of being a virtual Labour Party branch office at the last election, a point that is rankling with some its members who feel it did not push the government hard enough on the pay issue as a consequence," he says.

Ends

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