• Wyatt Creech

"The Labour Party's plan to force schools to pull out of direct resourcing of teachers' salaries is a short sighted u-turn on policy it originally brought in," Education Minister Wyatt Creech said today.

The Government will not be supporting a Labour member's bill that scraps direct resourcing of teachers' salaries (bulk funding) and returns total control of the resource back to the centralised bureaucracy.

"Labour has lost the plot. Direct resourcing was part and parcel of Tomorrow's Schools, the education reforms brought in by Labour in 1989.

"The very name of the bill 'Protection of Public Education' reveals that Labour is just trying to score political points instead of taking action that will deliver the educational goods for young people.

"Scrapping bulk funding has got absolutely nothing to do with the protection of public education, as an examination of the way directly resourced schools are working will show. It is merely a political stunt by the Labour Party to appeal to the union constituency," Mr Creech said.

"Under our policy schools voluntarily opt into direct resourcing; they are not forced into this system. They chose it because they want to produce a better education environment for their students. It gives schools the flexibility to manage the funding they get for staffing. If they can use it better, it is sensible for the taxpayer to allow them to do so."

Mr Creech said the schools that have opted in have been able to do things like employ more teachers and other staff to respond to the individual needs of their students and spend on modern technology.

"Labour's insistence that everything is controlled from the centre, as they want to with this policy, has more to do with old style union politics than getting better education results for students."

Mr Creech said the threatening letter written to schools this week by the Labour Education spokesperson should be seen for what it is - part of a political campaign divorced from educational considerations.

"Labour's so called 'warning' will ensure a sense of foreboding if Labour were ever to get to be Government and goes ahead with this short sighted move," Mr Creech said.