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National's Christmas message for schools

National's Christmas message for schools

Schools must be disappointed by the National Party's response to the government's review of operational funding, says Education Minister Steve Maharey.

He says the report was a chance for the new-look National Party to spell out its policy on school funding.

"National failed to do this because it has no policy other than cutting taxes, which would lead to cuts in spending," Steve Maharey said.

"Katherine Rich claims she has been that aware of the issues in the report for years. If that's the case, where is the policy to address these issues?

"Any response to issues around operational grants requires a commitment to funding. Under Labour, funding for schools has increased from $3.8 billion a year in 1999 to around $5.6 billion this year. We will continue to lift funding and identify specific pressure areas.

"Katherine Rich needs to say exactly what National would fund, particularly as it would be under pressure to provide large tax cuts."

Steve Maharey said that rather than 'talking to two or three principals' as Katherine Rich suggested, Labour's approach had been comprehensive and transparent, and involved representatives of the entire education system.

"We recognise that there are pressures for schools and we are working with the sector on a comprehensive response to the issues."

ENDS

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