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English contradicts himself on industry training

Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister of Education

29 July 2005 Media Statement

English contradicts himself on industry training

Education Minister Trevor Mallard today questioned why National was criticising Labour's promised increase in industry trainees and apprentices, when on Sunday National promised to lift caps on numbers completely.

"Mr English has criticised Labour today for promising to lift apprenticeship numbers by 5000 to 14,000 by 2008, saying industry would not be able to cope with more.

"Yet on Sunday, he released his party's policy which promises to lift the cap on apprenticeships and industry training completely.

"It is quite astounding that on one day of the week he thinks it is a good idea to lift apprenticeship numbers, yet four days later, he does not think it is a good idea at all.

"This a complete and utter contradiction, and highly embarrassing for Mr English who can not make his policy make sense.

"Unlike National, which said on Sunday in its policy release that it will lift the cap on trainee numbers, Labour believes any expansion of industry training must be structured and sustainable, so that we address skills shortages at a rate that does not outpace the capacity of the sector to deliver quality training.

"Also, many apprentices have previously done pre-apprenticeship courses and taken out loans and they will benefit from the no-interest policy.

" National's obvious confusion and contradictions in this key area for New Zealand's economy is hardly surprising, given the party's history. National completely ignored looming skills shortages when it was in government in the 1990s, and rejected the need for action.

"There were no Modern Apprenticeships thanks to National, compared to more than 7000 now. The government's investment in industry training and Modern Apprenticeships is set to more than double by 2006, from $56.1 million in 1999 to $128.9 million in 2006," Trevor Mallard said.


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