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A Simple Yes Or No Will Do, Minister

A Simple Yes Or No Will Do, Minister

Thursday 18 Nov 2004

Deborah Coddington - Press Releases -Education

ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington today called on Education Minister Trevor Mallard to stop being evasive with questions regarding the so-called "historic" 50 percent pay rise for qualified early childhood teachers.

"In October the NZEI announced that the Government had given a commitment to funding pay parity for early childhood teachers, an announcement which raised staff expectations and placed huge pressure on employers," Miss Coddington said.

"The Early Childhood Council suspected that no such commitment had been given. All that had happened was that the NZEI had negotiated a pay increase - over four years - for the tiny percentage of staff covered by the Consenting Parties Award - less than 8 percent of the early childhood sector.

"I asked the Minister to confirm the date on which this commitment was given; if he stood by the NZEI's announcement; and to confirm the Government's funding of a 50 percent pay increase for early childhood teachers covered by the Consenting Parties Award.

"In typical Mallard-speak he has evaded my questions and, instead, provided meaningless waffle about qualifications and goals.

"The Minister should show some responsibility for a change, and correct the misinformation being spread around the early childhood sector by the primary teachers' union. All early childhood employers would love to pay their staff more, but most are responsible enough to act in good faith and not make promises they can't keep.

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"Meanwhile in Kawhia, one of the Waikato's most successful early childhood centres is going to the Hamilton High Court this Friday to fight the Minister's attempts to close it down. Why? Because they hired the best teacher for the job who, despite being fluent in Te Reo, doesn't happen to suit Mr Mallard's obsession for his type of qualification.

"It's time this Minister stopped stamping all over the early childhood sector and showed the under-fives some support for a change," Miss Coddington said.


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