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Kindergarten Pay Parity Will Add Fuel To Fire

28 May 2002

Kindergarten Pay Parity Will Add Fuel To Fire Of Teachers' Dispute

"The Government's commitment to spend millions in the Budget on giving kindergarten teachers pay parity will add fuel to the fire of the secondary teachers' pay dispute", says National's Education spokesperson Nick Smith.

"Pay parity for kindergarten teachers is politically correct nonsense. Teaching 4-year-olds is not the same as 17-year-olds. There are two very different skill sets at these different ages and to lock them into the same employment conditions will limit New Zealand's capacity to deliver excellence in education for decades to come.

"Locking secondary and kindergarten pay rates together will reduce the capacity to respond to different labour market pressures. It will see undervalued secondary teachers leaving New Zealand in increasing numbers to countries where their skills are properly valued.

"The injustice of kindergarten pay parity is that thousands of early childhood teachers with identical qualifications doing the same work will not receive this huge boost in pay.

"This misguided parity policy will cause huge division in the early childhood sector as well as causing increased tensions in schools. It is bad policy driven by the political needs of the Government rather than the education needs of children.

"National is not opposed to increased remuneration for kindergarten teachers. These increases should be consistent across the early childhood sector and be based on the recruitment needs of the sector," says Dr Smith.


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