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$100 Million Tax Cut for Teachers

31 August 2005

$100 Million Tax Cut for Teachers

Teachers will benefit by $100 million a year once National's lower taxes are in place. A trip to www.taxcut.co.nz compares the Labour and National packages. A small number of middle income families are better off with Labour's package, and every other working New Zealand is better off with National's package.

National's package includes most of Labour's Working for Families payments as well as changes to rates and thresholds. All income up to $50,000 will be taxed at 19 cents in the dollar with incomes $50,000 to $100,000 taxed at 33 cents. The 39 cents rate will apply to incomes over $100,000.

National has not taken into account the extra billion dollars that turned up in the pre election "opening of the books" so Labour have not been able to scare the public over spending cuts.

NZEI Wrong PPTA Offensive

Both unions have published pamphlets setting out party education policies. The PPTA clearly disagree with National policies but at least their table in the PPTA News accurately describes the policies. NZEI persist with misrepresentations and I am frequently told delegates in the staff rooms are worse than the pamphlet. The contrast is striking. PPTA correctly point out that the collective contrast is legally binding, and the salary bill has to be paid. National will honour the collective agreements. NZEI imply National will follow the government of Alberta, Canada, and legislate over the Collective. It's rubbish, but worse, I suspect NZEI know it's rubbish.

On the other hand, the PPTA has gone to disgraceful lengths to make a petty point about criticism of NCEA with an advertisement portraying a young woman as the victim of violence. The text refers to the perpetrators of this violence as politicians who "put the boot in" to NCEA in election year. I think they mean me. This is the sort of stuff that undermines public esteem for the teaching profession. The advertisement is offensive, partisan and wrong. If the PPTA think Labour is a certainty to win, this weekend's polls might prompt them to withdraw the ad.

National Will Fund Professional Development

National will be funding professional development despite NZEI telling their members we won't. NZEI take the ridiculous position that any questioning of the value of the $120 million annual PD Budget means there will be no funding. I am told by almost every school principal I talk to that some of the PD is excellent, some is a waste of time and they want more control over it.

National will continue to fund PD. And we will look at value for money and who can best make decisions about PD. In Budget 2005, schools were given a $22 million increase in their operations grant. The annual budget for ministry controlled curriculum support and professional development hit $220 million. Its worth a look at whether every dollar is lifting achievement, or whether some of it could be better used in schools

Bulk Funding

National will ensure there are no loser schools in the move to bulk funding. We know the move will cost money and schools facing funding pressure are likely to welcome any extra funding.

However, the benefits of bulk funding build on the flexibility schools now have in three changes that didn't apply 10 years ago. In 2000 Labour allowed schools to hire as many teachers as they like, brought in staff banking, and allowed schools unlimited international students. I know of no school who wants to give these away.

Bulk funding allows full scope for the professionalism of principals and teachers in making decisions about how to tailor resources to the needs of individual students.


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