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Where will Nats slash education funding?

Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister of Education

31 August 2005 Media Statement

Where will Nats slash education funding?

Education Minister Trevor Mallard today called on National to say which programmes it will cut from education in order to fund another Business Roundtable policy - bulk funding of schools.

"Parents and teachers are right to be suspicious of National's real intentions as the party is still refusing to say how it will fund the $350 million annual cost of its policy to bulk fund schools," Trevor Mallard said.

"They have admitted it will come from cuts to existing education spending - so why don’t they come clean about what programmes or staff are going? Families have a right to know.

"National's plan to slash $350 million from elsewhere in the education sector will send shivers down the spines of school principals, teachers, parents and students alike.

"Bill English should also be careful when he talks about "bloated" bureaucracy. Around 80 per cent of the so-called "bloat" in the Ministry of Education was because about 1400 special education staff - the people who work with children with special needs - were brought into the ministry.

"Is Bill English saying these people should go? Will he get rid of the 400 odd staff who work directly with schools, including literacy experts, student support and schools support staff? National also seems to think that frontline staff don't need administration staff, and that education policy advisers and education specialists are a luxury.

"If National are to have any credibility whatsoever, they need to say where the axe will fall. The fact that National can't even provide answers to the most basic policy questions shows they are not fit to govern.

"Even if National abolished the Ministry of Education completely, it still wouldn't save the $350 million needed to bulk fund all schools at the top level on the salary scale - as they promise they will do. National's numbers just don't add up," Trevor Mallard said.

* For the source of National's education policy See Reform Directions: Schools in Policy Directions for New Zealand Education, by Norman LaRocque of the Business Roundtable, October 2004



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