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National questions motives behind education letter

Hon Bill English MP
National Party Education Spokesman

09 September 2005

National questions motives behind education letter

National Party Education spokesman Bill English says a mass mailout by civil servants on NCEA just 10 days before the election is blatant politicking by the civil service.

He is referring to a letter from the NZQA and the Ministry of Education dated September 2, which has been sent to 'parents/caregivers of year 11, 12 and 13 secondary school students'.

The letter was signed by NZQA Chief Executive Karen Sewell and Secretary of Education Howard Fancy.

"The NCEA has been one of the most controversial issues of the year. It's at the core of public concern about declining standards in education.

"In the heat of the election campaign, the Ministry of Education and NZQA have taken sides with this so-called public education campaign funded by the taxpayer

"A letter and pamphlet to every parent at this stage can only be designed to help the Labour party.

"The letter should tell the truth. A government report found all National's criticisms were right.

"None of the significant problems in NCEA have been fixed for 2005, and there is no sign NCEA will be fixed without a change of government.

"This letter would appear to breach the guidelines released by the State Services Commissioner, in particular the requirement that communications campaigns which could be seen as party political should not happen.

"It is a blatant abuse of taxpayer money. National is preparing a complaint to the State Services Commissioner asking him to investigate.

"My last complaint about education officials backing Labour was upheld, and I expect this one will be too," says Mr English.

ENDS

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