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Education Minister loses closest ally

Hon Bill English MP

National Education Spokesperson

11th February 2004

Education Minister loses closest ally

Trevor Mallard today lost the support of his closest ally in his battle to close hundreds of schools across New Zealand, said National education spokesman Bill English.

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) - the primary teachers union - withdrew their support for further network reviews yesterday in a statement by National President, Colin Tarr.

"Up until now the NZEI has supported the reviews, leaving parents to fight on their own. I'm not surprised the NZEI have changed their minds in the last few months. Teachers have been living through the distress of dozens of school closures before Christmas and a further 71 closures announced in the last few weeks," said Mr English.

"NZEI members have done a wonderful job of maintaining learning for the children while the future of their schools have hung in the balance. I'm pleased the union is prepared to speak out about the flawed network review process, and I agree with their statement that it 'is not being driven by the educational needs of the children'.

"Whatever agreement the Minster and the union may have had, they no longer endorse the continued destruction of successful strongly supported schools built by dedicated motivated teachers.

"This raises doubt about the Prime Minister's statement yesterday that Network Reviews will continue," said Mr English.


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