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Removing race? Yeah, right

Hon Bill English - National Party Education Spokesman

15 December 2004

Removing race? Yeah, right

Trevor Mallard's suggestion that he has removed the racial component of early childhood funding is nothing but smoke and mirrors, says National's Education spokesman, Bill English. Mr Mallard announced today that separate contestable funding pools, based on race, would be scrapped in favour of one general pool. "It's not the name of the funding pool that counts, but the way decisions are made about who gets funding and at what level."

Mr English has obtained a copy of the 'matrix' used for the prioritisation process for applications to the current general funding pools

The document states that race is a factor used to help prioritise applications and 'the highest value will go to those groups that provide the highest amount of new places for Maori and Pasifika children' and for the 'retention of Pasifika children'. It explicitly states that this is 'aligned with Government policy'.

"This makes it very clear that race remains a decisive factor in funding decisions, and will remain so despite Trevor Mallard's announcement that the funding pools are to be reshuffled.

"My office has been contacted by a number of childcare centres around the country who have missed out on funding because they didn't have 'enough' Maori and Pasifika students to qualify, despite the fact that they were applying to 'general' funding pools. "Volunteer mothers and fathers raise thousands of dollars for early childhood centres and deserve more honesty about the criteria for government funding," says Mr English.


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