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Smith: Mallard Move Good For Schools

Media Statement
For immediate release
Tuesday, 21 December 2004

Smith: Mallard move good for schools

New Zealand's schools are better off following Trevor Mallard losing control over them in yesterday's Cabinet reshuffle, United Future's Murray Smith says.

Mr Smith, who was at the forefront of the campaign against the closure of Hutt Valley schools last year, said that Mr Mallard had had full sway over primary, intermediate and secondary schools for too long and had made it his mission to have fewer and bigger schools, regardless of the impact on communities.

"The only thing that stopped Mallard's crusade was Don Brash's Orewa speech and the sudden surge in the polls that scared Labour. This led to Helen Clark distancing herself from Mallard by complaining that he hadn't properly informed Cabinet of what he was doing. Mallard's wings were duly clipped." he said.

Mallard's removal from these areas of his portfolio and their handing to the inexperienced (although equally brash) David Benson-Pope gives some hope that our schools will be safe for the foreseeable future, Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith said Mallard's awarding of the energy portfolio meant that he was out of contact with high-profile public issues and was limited in the damage that he could do to the Government during election year.


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