Education versus the economy yesterdaybecame what could
be a defining election theme following a hard-hitting speech by
Labour Party leader David Cunliffe.
In a range of policy announcements which are sure to resonate
with many parents, Mr Cunliffe promised Labour would reduce
class sizes by employing 2000 more teachers.
''This will help all our kids get a world-class education.''
The policy would reduce secondary school classes sizes from
26 pupils or more per class to just 23. Year 4 to 8 classes
would reduce from 29 to 26 pupils, he said.
The increased teacher numbers would be funded by cancelling
National's Investing in Education policy worth about $359
million, he said.
Mr Cunliffe said it was a better use of New Zealand's
education resource to increase the number of educators and
make sure they received the best training possible rather
than more money for performance pay and part-time principals
- two policies adopted by the Government.
''That's backed up by a wealth of academic evidence and it's
something parents know instinctively. One of the best things
we can give our kids is more one-to-one time with their
At the National Party conference the previous weekend, Prime
Minister John Key focused his remarks on the economy and
released a policy pledging $212 million for roading
improvements in the regions.
Mr Cunliffe said only Labour had a powerful strategic plan
for New Zealand's future economy.
Labour would build partnerships with the regions, businesses
and communities, he said.
National would not admit the so-called recovery was only
Canterbury rebuild insurance cheques and dairy exports.
At a glance
• Year 5-13 pupils to have access to a portable
digital device, in the classroom and at home.
• Raise standards of entry into teaching
• Commit $25 million to provide teachers with
professional development during the 2016 and 2017 school
• Reduce class sizes by funding 2000 more
• National Standards thrown out.