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Plain English - Fight Of A Lifetime

PLAIN ENGLISH - A WEEKLY UPDATE FROM BILL ENGLISH, LEADER OF THE NATIONAL PARTY

Fight of a Lifetime

I have kept the Fight for Life to a minimum distraction from the campaign around the country, but it took over yesterday. As my trainer Chris Kenny says, people play golf and play rugby, but no-one plays at boxing. There's no spin, no angles and no apologies. It was a real, personal, physical challenge to get in the ring in front of the nation, but I'm pleased I did it, and pleased it's now done!

The media interest and public support has been just so much more than I ever anticipated, and the result I hope is a big boost to funds for the Yellow Ribbon Campaign.

Meeting the Stars

One of the real pleasures of the Fight for Life has been the chance to meet the famous names from Rugby and League who also took part in the event. Without exception they are impressive and thoughtful people, and most have been affected by a suicide. A surprising number are working with young people. It makes a real impact on young people when even the tough guys say it's best to talk about your problem and get help when you need it.

In the Ring

Boxing isn't as bad as it looks for us beginners. For the benefit of those who have been disappointed to see my features unmarked, while it looked like I was getting a real pasting, it didn't hurt that much because the punches weren't straight, they were coming in sideways. If you defend properly, it's hard for the other guy to really hit hard. I'm told that the judges marked it a close fight because while I threw fewer punches, I landed them. I am now an expert and available to be consulted!

Alternative Education - the Quiet Revolution

This week I came across one of the alternative education schools National set up in the late 90s. There are now 4000 young people who have been truant, or just can't fit in a normal secondary school, who are in alternative education. These schools are run by private training-providers, state schools, local trusts and others. It's positive, it works, and we will do more of it.

Who Really Cares?

By contrast with the professionalism of the Fight for Life, Labour have bumbled their way into the worst crisis in education for decades. Plain English readers might be bored with this, but 57,000 fifth formers face the possibility of getting no meaningful qualification for their year's work. Parents like me are getting angry about the shambles. Clark has poured petrol on the fire by saying today that teachers didn't understand the pay offer. Trevor Mallard has threatened to put all teachers on individual contracts. To make matters worse, Labour is bringing in pay parity for kindergarten teachers on July 1st. Who says Helen Clark is competent and Labour is caring? All replies direct to me please.

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