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National Will Pay Good Teachers More

19 June 2002

The Government is making no progress on the secondary teachers' pay dispute, particularly since Helen Clark announced last week there would be no more money available, says National Leader Bill English.

"Speaking as a parent, this is unacceptable. I see the devastating impact on-going industrial action is having on the confidence, and potentially the qualifications of secondary school students.

"National wants to raise standards in education. There is a better way through this dispute and National will provide it.

"The first task is to get teachers and students back into the classrooms so that the remainder of the school year can be completed without disruption.

"National proposes to make an offer of the order of our settlement in 1999 and a $2000 allowance for the implementation of the NCEA this year, conditional on teachers ceasing all industrial action.

"We would halt Labour's plans to give kindergarten teachers parity with secondary teachers from 1 July. Labour's step would make the secondary education crisis impossible to resolve. Kindergarten teachers deserve consideration on their own merit.

"Looking ahead, National proposes to deal with, rather than ignore, the fundamental issues around teacher performance, recruitment and retention.

"We would be willing to continue to fund increases of the order of the 1999 settlement, but would include a strong emphasis on performance and flexibility for schools to reward hardworking teachers through the units currently built into the award.

"There can be no knowledge economy if schools aren't functioning and students can't get qualifications. New Zealand won't succeed in the arts, music or sporting areas without vibrant programmes in our schools. These programmes are at risk.

"National's alternative is fair to teachers and to taxpayers, and provides a framework for a more constructive schooling environment in the future," says Mr English.


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