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Second Term Shambles As Teachers Walk Out

24 April 2002

A series of rolling strikes by secondary teachers next week could be the last straw for thousands of students trying to get to grips with the new NCEA qualification, says National's Education spokesperson, Nick Smith.

"The Government has left Year 11 students totally exposed by failing to sort out the shambles of the current secondary teachers' pay dispute.

"With the decision by teachers to begin rolling strikes next Tuesday, we're now into the third term of this pay row. But repeated calls by National for Trevor Mallard and Helen Clark to sort out this mess continue to fall on deaf ears.

"Trevor Mallard wanted to move heaven and earth to see the rugby World Cup come to New Zealand, yet he's ignoring the plight of the teachers. This 'head in the sand' attitude is putting the school qualifications of 56,000 Year 11 students at risk.

"The Government argues there is no money in the kitty to pay teachers what they want. National says that if it sorted its spending priorities, there is.

"Instead of dishing out money for free student cell phones, taxi rides for able-bodied school children, and giving T-shirts to pupils, it should be using the money to pay teachers properly," says Dr Smith.

Ends

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