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PM Must Sort Teachers' Strike Shambles

The Prime Minister must step into the bitter secondary teacher pay row which is being handled so ineptly by her Education Minister, says National's Education spokesperson, Nick Smith.

"We're now into the third term of the nastiest pay dispute ever, yet repeated calls by National for Helen Clark to sort out this mess are just falling on deaf ears.

"Tomorrow, Canterbury teachers are joining their Auckland colleagues in taking action which will, once again, throw the school term into chaos for thousands of secondary students and their families. What will it take for the Prime Minister to realise the huge fallout from this dispute?

"Week after week of vital study time for young New Zealanders is being lost to industrial action which has now gone on for a year. The Government's spending priorities are all wrong - it's dishing out money for free student cell phones, for taxi rides for able-bodied school children and it's giving T-shirts to pupils, but it can't find the money to pay teachers properly.

"Trevor Mallard thought he could escape the heat by using the school holidays as a bargaining chip but he failed, as he's failed before, and now the dispute is stepping up.

"Once again, I urge the Prime Minister to intervene and sort out a compromise. Schools must not be saddled with age-old industrial action techniques when so much is at stake for so many students," says Dr Smith.


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