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National Education Policy – Boring Old Mistakes

28 June 2002

National’s education policy announced today shows more of the same old mistakes that will widen the gap in educational achievement, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said.

“The divisive bulk funding system, a privatisation of the school system, and the removal of guaranteed right to go to your local school are all policy of the previous National Government that voters rejected in 1999,” Trevor Mallard said.

“During 1999, National MPs went around the country scraremongering about Labour’s plans to repeal bulk funding. They said that schools would lose money and lose teachers. Yet as a result of this policy, operation funding to schools by next year will increase by $174 million (nearly 25%) over the period of this government. There are 500 more teachers in New Zealand schools and more to come next year.

“Bulk funding will not solve the current teacher dispute – it is more likely to antagonise it.

“Nick Smith is also misleading the public on his party’s zoning policy. It gives schools a greater right than parents over where children go to school. Under National’s policy a child could get turned away from the school next door in favour of a talented athlete from the other side of town. That is fundamentally flawed.

“His idea that the government should fund more and more capital works at the most popular schools while other schools lie empty is a waste of taxpayer funds and ignores the fact that the best schools don’t want to grow bigger and bigger.

“This government focuses on policies to support excellence in all schools and while that takes time it is beginning to work and is well worth the commitment,” Trevor Mallard said.


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