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Government is hiding true truancy problem

Hon Bill English National Party Leader

26 August 2002

Government is hiding true truancy problem

School truancy is a major factor behind youth offending and yet the Government is doing all it can to make sure the extent of the problem is being kept from the public, says National Party Leader Bill English.

"Twice the Government has promised to establish a truant database and yet nothing has happened. When National tried to find out the latest truancy figures earlier this year, Education Minister Trevor Mallard failed to reply. It is now clear he is playing bureaucratic games.

"All written questions put before the House prior to the end of the last Parliamentary term are now null and void which means they have to be re submitted. The Government have taken advantage of this over a number of issues including truancy to drag out when they give an answer.

"Two years ago, 4,790 students were referred to the Non - Enrolment Truancy Service and evidence to hand would indicate it is getting worse.

"One answer to truancy is to have mandatory schooling in place. The link between youth offending and truancy is an established fact and if we don't make some hard decisions now it will only get worse.

"In a country as small as ours it is ludicrous to think we can't keep a proper track on where our young people are. We can do much better for our young people because if we don't there will be more mindless murders like that of Michael Choy," says Mr English.


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