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Government Band Aid Won't Sort Dispute

14 July 2002

Thousands of secondary students are heading back to a new school term of strike chaos despite attempts by the Government to claim the teachers' dispute is being sorted, says National Leader Bill English.

"The plain facts are the Government has not resolved this dispute, and industrial action is going to hit our secondary schools over the next two weeks, starting on Wednesday.

"What is this going to do to the thousands of parents who have struggled through two weeks of rain-soaked school holidays, and are now faced with having their kids sent home from school again?

"Reports that the teachers' dispute has gone into arbitration are wrong. All that's happened is that Trevor Mallard has proposed to the PPTA a process of Alternative Dispute Resolution. The PPTA can't enter into arbitration without a vote from teachers and this could take two weeks.

"Trevor Mallard has attempted to band aid the problem and push it out past Election Day, but it's backfired by upsetting teachers more and hardening the PPTA's resolve. Helen Clark and Labour have been panicked into giving an impression the dispute's resolved, no matter what.

"I am proposing today a five-point plan for getting teachers back in the classroom and making sure this industrial dispute doesn't happen again. National will:

* Negotiate an offer of the order of our settlement in 1999 (3.5% per year) and offer a $2000 allowance for the NCEA to get teachers back in the classroom
* Open negotiations on a professional pay structure for teachers that rewards quality and professionalism, and pays good teachers more
* Delay level 2 of the NCEA for Year 12 until teacher workload pressures and other problems around it are resolved
* Review the NCEA to focus more on achievement and less on assessment
* Introduce self-management for schools as a tool for innovation and to allow decision making by teachers, parents and principals.

"Parents are learning the hard way that Labour cares more about their votes than about their children. Parents need to vote for their children's education by endorsing National's plan to pull schools out of this industrial mire and restore confidence in secondary education in New Zealand," says Mr English.


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