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Abandoned bill was a Bill of Rights breach

The abandoning of a bill last night that might have stopped yoga and dance teachers calling themselves teachers is a relief and a move of common sense, Exercise New Zealand chief executive Richard Beddie says.

Exercise NZ had put in a submission on the bill which if passed would have made it illegal for people to use the title of teacher without a formal qualification.

Beddie says he was concerned the Education (Protecting Teacher Title) Amendment Bill could have devalued those tutors and people in schools who fall outside the criteria.

“We’re so happy the bill has been abandoned because we strongly objected. We had recommended parliament rejected this bill entirely. It had too many consequences for those outside the education sector that had not been considered.

“People working in a teaching role should be able to use the term teacher with no restrictions. There are many roles in many industries where the term teacher is used outside of an education setting.

“This includes many roles within our industry such as yoga teacher, or those in related industries such as dance teachers. Alternatives such as instructor do not correctly describe the role or job of these individuals.

“It would have been inconsistent with the practice in every country and region that we share a common labour pool with such as Australia, the US, the UK and Europe.

“Yoga teachers in New Zealand hold internationally benchmarked qualifications, that are both globally recognised, as well as being recognised by New Zealand's registration body for exercise professionals - the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals.

“The term teacher is specifically used for yoga due to their unique role of teaching yoga, rather than instructing or doing.

“Restricting the use of the term teacher for this group would have been extremely limiting and involve significant cost to individuals as well as confusion to the public.

“This Bill was a breach of the Bill of Rights - a point already made by the Attorney General - and the concern around charter schools was not a good reason to breach the Bill of Rights for a much wider group than teachers in the traditional education sector.

“This bill was a good example of a solution to a problem that doesn't exist since charter schools are being phased out.

Beddie says the bill would have had a significant impact on sectors, and individuals in industries that clearly the bill has not considered, such as medical doctors.

ExerciseNZ is a non-profit membership-based organisation, representing more than 600 exercise facilities and more than 3000 registered exercise professionals in New Zealand. They provide services to more than half a million Kiwis on a regular basis, making exercise the largest sport in New Zealand.

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