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Gov't Must Up Offer To Teachers

10 June 2002

Green Party Education spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street MP said today Education Minister Trevor Mallard must show teachers he is bargaining in good faith by upping the offer when negotiations resume.

"It's no good just paying lip service to a knowledge economy; the Government has to put its money where its mouth is and fund the education system adequately.

"Students are the ones who are really losing out here, with lost teaching days and ongoing uncertainty undermining their schooling. The Government must put the future of our young people first."

Mr Ewen-Street said it was no surprise to either party that teachers had voted to reject the last Government offer.

"This is not about grudgingly giving teachers the absolute minimum in terms of salary and conditions so that they will agree to return to work, it is about making teaching a desirable profession. This wrangle is fundamentally about re-establishing trust in the integrity of the profession and about attracting people into teaching as a long-term career.

"Since the advent of 'Today's Schools', teachers have been loaded with accountability functions for the Education Review Office and the Ministry, and they are able to spend a decreasing amount of time doing what they should be doing - teaching students.

"Mr Mallard should go straight back to the bargaining table tomorrow,> " said Mr Ewen-Street. "The education system relies on the goodwill and dedication of teachers. The least they deserve is the goodwill and dedication of the minister in sorting out this mess."

Ends

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