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Teachers Strike Highlights Issues For State Sector

Sunday June 9 2002

Teachers Strike Highlights Issues For State Sector Employees

Alliance leader Laila Harre has sent a letter to public servants living in west Auckland’s Waitakere electorate highlighting her party’s concerns over pay, recruitment and retention in the public sector.

The letter is being delivered to all teachers, nurses and health sector workers living in the Waitakere electorate.

Laila Harre said the secondary teachers dispute has highlighted issues around public sector pay.

“Years of treading water have lead to recruitment and retention concerns throughout the public sector, and the Alliance believes there are two underlying issues that need to be addressed.

“Firstly, we need to reverse the trend set by Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson towards reduced state spending as a proportion of GDP (currently 33 per cent).

“We also need to increase government revenue,” Laila Harre said.

If National had not cut taxes in the 1990s New Zealand the government would have more than enough to improve quality and eliminate user pays health and education.

Labour has built these tax cuts into their policy. The Alliance has not.

Laila Harre said that while the Alliance wholeheartedly supports progressive taxation, it does not support tax increases on low or average incomes.

“We believe that many on higher incomes would be happy to pay more so they can be assured of the highest quality health and education services for themselves and their children. I certainly would,” Laila Harre said.

The state pay fixing system also needs adjusting.

One option the Alliance is considering is funding for the automatic inflation proofing of pay throughout the state sector, with the exception of fixed term chief executive agreements.

“This would leave unions to bargain over real wage increases.”


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