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Who's right, Mallard or the NZEI?

Thu, 3 Feb 2005

Who's right, Mallard or the NZEI?

Thursday 3 Feb 2005 Deborah Coddington - Press Releases - Education

Education Minister Trevor Mallard must front up and tell the truth regarding pay equity for early childhood teachers, ACT Education spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Last November the primary teachers' union boss Colin Tarr boasted of an `historic' announcement that the Government had given a commitment to pay parity for some early childhood teachers over the next four years," Miss Coddington said.

"But my Parliamentary Questions revealed the correct situation, that government `does not directly fund salaries for early childhood teachers, and it does not negotiate Collective Agreements for ECE teachers other than kindergarten teachers'.

"When the union refused to retract its claims, I asked Education Ministry officials at select committee who was telling the truth - the Minister or the NZEI? They admitted there were `two different views...we'll get back to you on that'.

"But today's Report to the House by the Education Select Committee shows that Colin Tarr is misleading thousands of early childhood teachers. The report states that although the Government is committed to funding services for increased numbers of qualified staff; `This funding increase may help assist services offset the costs of any collective employment agreement, but there is no guarantee that full costs will be met.'

"The union's announcement is nothing more than a sly move by a minority group to manipulate the Government. It remains to be seen whether the Minister will now buckle to avoid upsetting his teacher union mates in election year.

"ACT believes good early childhood teachers do need more pay, but Trevor Mallard's crushing of the sector in the last three years has made it very difficult for centres to afford to give teachers more pay," Miss Coddington said.

ENDS

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