National to boost Asian language classes in schools

The Government will invest $2 million a year over five years to increase Asian language learning in schools.

The $10 million fund was designed to provide more students with opportunities to learn the languages of countries with whom New Zealand had strong trade relationship, Prime Minister John Key said this morning.

He made the announcement in Blenheim, where he was speaking at the New Zealand Winegrowers national conference.

The new funding would focus on increasing the number of schools that offered Mandarin, Korean and Japanese.

Mr Key told an audience of 600 the initiative was evidence of National's commitment to free trade and openness to the world.

He said National was the only party which was not raising barriers to foreign investment and free trade.

Mr Key also defended the secrecy of New Zealand's Trans Pacific Partnership talks, saying that New Zealand would stand to lose if it revealed its bottom lines to the world.

He also warned that Labour appeared likely to oppose the TPP, based on its public comments.

- By Isaac Davison of the New Zealand Herald

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