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Govt. found guilty in teachers' pay decision

Nick Smith National Education Spokesperson

20 August 2002

Govt. found guilty in teachers' pay decision

The Government's previous pay offers to secondary teachers have been found to be grossly inadequate by an independent arbitration panel, and the Education Minister must take the rap for 12 months' chaos in our schools, says National's Education spokesperson Nick Smith.

"For months, Trevor Mallard and Helen Clark have been blaming the PPTA over the dispute, saying that the Government's offer was fair and quite adequate.

"The arbitration panel has disagreed and has awarded teachers $250 million, over three years, more. The Minister must now accept the chaos was his fault as, in effect, the panel has found him guilty.

"When National suggested a settlement of the order of 3.5% per year, Mr Mallard described it as being totally unaffordable. The Minister, believing they were in cloud cuckoo land, dismissed similar claims by teachers.

"Today's decision shows that it was he who was in cloud cuckoo land.

"National welcomes the arbitration decision and urges teachers to accept the deal. This matter would have been resolved over 12 months ago if the Minister had bothered to listen, and take seriously, the recruitment and retention issues raised by teachers.

"Trevor Mallard should apologise to the 16,000 teachers and 280,000 pupils for the unnecessary disruption he caused," says Dr Smith.


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