Teachers' Vote An Election Band-Aid
National Education Spokesperson
23 July 2002
Teachers' vote an election band-aid
The Government's effectively scored itself a vote of 'no confidence' with the decision by the PPTA to go to arbitration over the teachers' pay dispute, says National's Education spokesperson, Nick Smith.
"It's kicked for touch. Trevor Mallard might think he's bought himself a reprieve, but he should be reminded there's still no solution to this bitter dispute.
"The only reason this dispute is being put to arbitration three days before an election is to save the Government embarrassment. The last time there was quick fix, prior to Labour's congress, it soon after fell apart - and I fear this will do the same.
"The Government has been panicked into this because it wanted to give the impression that the dispute was being resolved. Its desperation showed last week when Mr Mallard poured fuel on the flames by using school boards of trustees as scapegoats in the dispute.
"The underlying problem is that Labour has never put enough money on the table. It blundered badly when it raised teachers' expectations by criticising National's last settlement of 7% over two years, and now wonders why teachers are saying 'no' to 5.5% over three years.
"National has produced an offer that is far better than anything this Government has come up with in 18 months. We know that parents and students are fed up with the chronic disruption to the school year and want this bitter dispute resolved.
"But until the Government recognises the pay issue and parallel problems around the NCEA, it won't be. The plain fact is that the NCEA is a botched mess and its implementation in Year 12 must be delayed," says Dr Smith.