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Key stance threatens special education

24 May 2004

Key stance threatens special education

National's John Key's promise to cut the education "bureaucracy" means a cut to special education staff and signals a return to National's policy of hiring expensive consultants for basic public service work, Education and State Services Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

Mr Key is reported in today's Dominion Post asking if it was necessary to "double the number of Ministry of Education bureaucrats? Personally I don't think so."

''But Mr Key is out of touch when he promises to slash the public service to fund otherwise unaffordable tax cuts. By far the largest growth in the Ministry of Education has come from special education staff being merged into the Ministry. Now he is saying these people are surplus to requirements.

"As at 1 January 2005, of the Ministry's 2300 full time equivalent staff, some 1821 were working in special education – these are people such as speech and language therapists, education psychologists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. Most are employed in the regions (see below).

"Mr Key and Bill English now need to tell the parents of special education students where the cuts to support and teaching will hit them.

"If National intends to slash public service numbers, it can only mean the party intends to go back to its days of hiring exorbitant outside consultants to do core public service work," Trevor Mallard said.

Special education FTE's by region (at April 1 2005)
Tai Tokerau 57 Hawkes Bay 51
Auckland District 365 Wellington 131
Waikato 99 Nelson/Marlborough 49
Gisborne 21 Canterbury 146
Taranaki 35 Otago 90
Bay of Plenty 107 Southland 28
Central 90 Total regional staff 1268


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