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Nick Smith – You’ve failed!

6 March 2002

Nick Smith has failed both reading comprehension and maths with a statement released today on examination fees, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

The National Education spokesperson has made a mistake on par with his ballsup over Meridian carpet prices.

“Nick Smith has claimed that I promised no exam hikes under the NCEA. Yet the Cabinet paper that the quote originally stemmed from was in 1998 when his colleague Wyatt Creech was the Minister,” Trevor Mallard said.

“It was used again in a question and answer form, that was not a public document, which explained why examinations fees were rising. It was not, however, a quote that was sourced to me.

“When we inherited the NCEA from the National Government – we got an administrative mess. I supported the need for a change to senior secondary qualifications but I made the decision to delay implementation for a year so we could sort out some of the problems caused by Nick Smith’s inattention to the new system.

“One of his biggest failings was to not properly resource areas of NCEA like moderation, extra assessment and professional development for teachers. My government has put more money into NCEA for these purposes.

“But NCEA does cost significantly more to run than the previous system. That’s hardly surprising given how detailed the information and moderation process is and I believe it is worth in order to have a far superior qualification system.

“I didn’t think it was fair for students and their families to bear the entire cost so Government has put more money towards it, NZQA has put more money towards it from their reserve, and students are being asked to pay an extra $15. The students are paying a smaller proportion of the cost than in the previous system.

“At no stage did I say that there would be no exam fee rises,” Trevor Mallard said.

Trevor Mallard said the Cabinet Office was required to consult with the Leader of the Opposition to release the 1998 Cabinet Paper and he hoped Mr English would authorise it.

Ends

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