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Lies, damn lies, and statistics Bill English uses

21 January, 2005 Media Statement

Lies, damn lies, and the statistics Bill English uses

The National Party lacks credibility discussing parental contributions to education when they deliberately choose to use misleading statistics, says Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope.

Mr Benson-Pope was responding to National's education spokesman Bill English who has relied on "local funds" statistics knowing they are made up of many components besides the contributions of parents.

"After five years in opposition Mr English must be familiar with what these figures mean, or at least he should," said Mr Benson-Pope. "He has deliberately chosen to use figures that include the contribution of foreign fee paying students, corporate donations, even the revenue earned from the school tuck shop. That's a nonsense. If we are talking about the contributions of New Zealand parents to their children's education, then let's talk about that.

"I acknowledge parents make a valuable contribution where they can. In total, parental contributions and donations amount to a figure equivalent to about 6 percent of total Government funding for schools, which has remained constant over the past five years.

"Between 1999 and 2003 the proportional contribution of parents increased by less than 1 percent of Government funding. Government spending on schools increased by 20 percent to $4.1 billion in 2004/05.

"Schools are now receiving over $246million more than they were in 1999, we've put 2500 extra teachers in classrooms, and invested $700million in school property development.

"The nonsense of what Mr English is saying is compounded by the fact that as he calls for extra spending, the rest of his party, lead by Finance spokesman John Key, are saying they will cut funding. National has said clearly they wish to cut spending on areas like education."

ENDS

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