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More Benson-Pope panic

Hon Bill English - National Party Education Spokesman

16 February 2005

More Benson-Pope panic

National's Education spokesman, Bill English, says David Benson-Pope has resorted to Trevor Mallard's and the NZQA's tactics of labelling any critic of the NCEA as a liar or an idiot.

"Yesterday in Parliament, I read a section of the minutes of a meeting of the Secondary Principals Leaders Forum where the group expressed grave concerns about NCEA scholarships. Mr Benson-Pope claims that I misrepresented those minutes. If this was the case, Mr Benson-Pope could initiate serious parliamentary proceedings against me. He has not done so.

"I also told Parliament that 10,000 fewer students passed an NCEA Level 2 English standard in 2004 than in 2003. I have never claimed that these 10,000 students automatically missed out on university entrance.

"Finally, I am pleased to hear that school principals and education sector groups are free to voice their concerns during the review process. This will help bring further anomalies to light. I will communicate this to those who have contacted me saying they had been told not to comment.

"As usual, the Minister is pointing the finger everywhere but at himself and his officials that oversee the system. His energy would be much better spent fixing this mess," says Mr English.

ENDS

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