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Minister playing games instead of preventing strikes

The Ministry of Education has finally released the costings of the pay offer for secondary teachers which have been held onto for months an hour after a question was lodged to be asked in Parliament today, National’s spokesperson for Education Nikki Kaye says.

“I have been asking written questions where the Education Minister has cunningly avoided providing the details of the individual costings of each element of the pay offer for secondary teachers for months. Within an hour of the question being lodged in Parliament today, the Minister provided that information to the PPTA.

“Failing to provide this information thus far has been, in my view, one the barriers to settlement because the unions have been unable to verify the costings of the offers.

“The fact that it took a question in Parliament to prompt Minister Hipkins to allow the Ministry to release this information proves he is more focused playing political games than reaching a settlement and preventing strikes which we know are deeply disruptive to students, families and parents.

“The Minister, alongside the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, have been saying that the existing offers are more than the equivalent three offers by the previous National Government combined. This is incorrect, both by the Ministry’s own costings provided today and information in Parliament with regard to secondary teachers.

“The costings show the secondary school offer is approximately $360 million over four years. To this into perspective it is equivalent to approximately 13 per cent of the Government’s package for tertiary students.

“We also know that other areas of the public service, like the New Zealand Police, have had offers much higher than teachers.

“The Minister’s comments last week, when considering the teachers offer in light of other offers, that National isn’t ‘comparing apples with apples’ need to be explained, especially given there are tens of thousands of teachers who want to know why other public sector workers are being offered much more.

“The Government needs to stop playing politics and wasting time and get back to the table immediately to provide an increased offer to prevent strikes.”

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