Young Nats Speech To Teacher Rally
Youth Vice President
Speech Notes to Teacher Strike
9 May 2002
Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. It is an honour to represent National as the Party's Youth Vice President.
I guess that it is appropriate that I have this opportunity because it was not so long ago that I came through the school system, and as an advocate for youth issues I know what an important, central, role you play in society.
Both of my parents have a background in teaching and I am acutely aware of the hours that you all put in to your students. The 6am starts, the parent teacher meetings that drag on to late at night and the endless marking. I sympathise with the deep breathes required when you hear; 'but teachers get such long holidays'. Teacher holidays seem to be working eight-hour days instead of sixteen.
I am fortunate to have received an excellent education from an excellent state school - Ashburton College. It was obvious to me that teaching is more than a job for most teachers - certainly those that I had. There was a passion of imparting knowledge and politicians must be very careful not to drown this passion in bulging curriculum and unnecessary paper work.
It is not my job to announce National Party Policy but what I can tell you is that a National government will come to the table and talk - National will not resort to full page ads in metropolitan newspapers.
A National government will not be overseas whilst teachers strike and a National government will not be spending millions of dollars on education in Indonesia whilst there are problems at home.
National will spend education dollars on teachers and teaching not increasing bureaucracy. Since the 1999 election the money spent, or wasted, on bureaucracy has increased by 27%.
At the knowledge wave conference held last year attended by the glitteratzi of New Zealand's business a clear message was sent to government - value teachers more. Maybe it is time to start listening.
Ladies and Gentlemen you know how important a world class education is for the generations following mine - you wouldn't be teachers otherwise. As teachers I salute you and the commitment you have made to this country's future.
I wish you well in your negotiations and hope for a speedy and positive outcome.