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Helen Clark confirms NCEA cover-up

Hon Bill English - National Party Education Spokesman

16 February 2005

Helen Clark confirms NCEA cover-up

Helen Clark confirmed today that the Education Minister was aware of the discrepancies in NCEA scholarship exam results well before they became public, says National's Education spokesman Bill English.

Ms Clark told Parliament today that Trevor Mallard first informed her of the problems with the exam results on the 15th or 16th of January.

Ten days later, without explanation, Trevor Mallard changed the scholarship awards system.

In addition to the Prime Minister's admission, the NZQA told a select committee meeting today that it had advised Trevor Mallard of the problems on both the 14th and 17th of January and that senior officials started meeting on the 18th of January.

"Mr Mallard had the opportunity to come clean, and address the situation in an open manner, weeks ago. Instead, he chose to change the entire system without explanation," says Mr English.

"Until today both Trevor Mallard and David Benson-Pope have maintained that they knew nothing about shonky scholarship results until early February.

"It is clear now that they did know but thought they could sweep the mess under the carpet and pretend it never happened.

"Unfortunately for them, the situation was brought to the public's attention by concerned parents and teachers.

"Today's revelations from the Prime Minister show that Labour is much more concerned about minimising political damage than about high standards in education," says Mr English.

ENDS

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