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Minister Offers Example Of Opposition Hypocrisy

Education Minister Trevor Mallard gave an example in Parliament today of the National Opposition's hypocrisy.

Trevor Mallard said that while Jenny Shipley was currently leading a charge against the Government's closing the gaps policy, she had been quick in the past to put her hand up in support of kura kaupapa Maori teachers being excluded from teacher registration.

The Minister was answering questions about Government plans for an education council.

"We're currently considering submissions on the proposed Education Council that would provide a consistent approach to teacher registration and professional standards. 85% of submissions received on the discussion document support the idea of establishing an Education Council.

"This would cement the work begun in 1996 when my private members bill on teacher registration was passed. It removes anomalies – such as the exclusion of Kura Kaupapa Maori teachers - that currently exist in the law.

"That anomaly exists because in 1996, an amendment was passed which meant that teachers in kura are not subject to the professional standards and police checks required in other schools.

"This separatist approach was led in the house by Tau Henare who was well supported by other well-known radicals, Jenny Shipley and Winston Peters."

Trevor Mallard said the case was one example of how the National opposition used race issues to further their own political cause rather than with any strategy to help lift the quality of life for all New Zealanders.

"In 1996, when it suited them in Parliament, they supported a clause which basically implies that the standard of education for kura kaupapa children is not as important as it is for children in other schools.

"This Government is working through a process to look at ways in which groups of New Zealanders who are behind on all socio-economic indicators can improve their living standards, and yet National opposes it," Trevor Mallard said.

Ends

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