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Education to be starved under Nats cuts plan

20 July 2005 Media Statement

Education to be starved under Nats cuts plan

Schools will lose their extra teachers, teachers will lose their pay increases and universities will lose research and funding to teach students under National's plans to cut spending from next year, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

"National has promised to keep funding for education at this years levels. What they are really saying is they will cut $1.38 billion from across the education sector that we have budgeted for the three years from 2006-07," Trevor Mallard said.

"Communities around New Zealand would be hard hit in education - one of the most critical areas of government spending and one of the most critical areas for New Zealand as a country if we are serious about getting ahead.

"The list of extra spending that we have planned out to 2008-09 which will be for the chop by the National party razor gang includes:

- The extra teachers that Labour is putting into schools, on top of the extra teachers needed for roll growth - $47.1 million
- The already agreed pay increases for teachers - $280.6 million
- The extra operational grant funding for schools - $33.2 million
- The extra funding for early childhood education that helps services to increase the quality of education children receive, including help to pay for qualified staff - $44.8 million
- The extra funding universities expect to receive for their research development through the Performance-Based Research Fund - $40 million
- The extra funding universities are expecting for student tuition subsidies - $73 million
- Funding to enable our top schools to be mentors to others to lift education standards even more - $15.6 million

"This is not an exhaustive list but it is clear that National naively intends to starve the education system, cutting it back to bare bones.

"Labour is putting extra funding into these areas because we regard them as critical for the economy and business, critical for our young people, and critical for upskilling our workforce.

"New Zealand is on the right track and getting ahead. Incredible gains have already been made - more students are leaving school with qualifications, more under-fives are now in early childhood education, our students are amongst the best in the OECD in literacy and numeracy, more people are participating in tertiary education and we are funding more apprentices and industry trainees than ever before.

"I am sure no New Zealanders want to see us go backwards," Trevor Mallard said.

ENDS

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