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Govt. Seriously Misjudged Teachers' Mood

10 June 2002

The resounding rejection of the secondary teachers' pay deal proves how badly the Prime Minister and Education Minister, Trevor Mallard, have blundered on the issue, says National Leader Bill English.

"Helen Clark has shown she's completely out of touch with the mood of teachers and the mood of parents. Trevor Mallard has stumbled his way through 14 months of negotations, and has achieved absolutely nothing.

"Speaking as a parent, I know how angry many parents will be today knowing that there will be more industrial action. Parents have been a silent voice on this, but not any more.

"The education and qualifications of around 300,000 students are on the line because of Government incompetence. It is imperative that Trevor Mallard be removed from any job of negotiating a way out of this crisis because his credibility is in tatters.

"It is inspired teachers and enthusiastic students who matter in education. Helen Clark needs to understand this is more important than polls, apologies and overseas trips.

"National believes teachers deserve better pay. We understand we will have to meet the market to recruit and retain good teachers and our education policy will support this.

"We want more flexibility and more local control in education, not the rigid system this Government demands," says Mr English.


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