Education and work the answer says Parata

RACHEL ASKEW
Last updated 05:00 30/08/2014
Hekia Parata
CAHRLOTTE CURD / Fairfax NZ
Education Minister Hekia Parata

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Education and work were good for people and the answer to hardship, Education Minister Hekia Parata said when she visited South Otago High School.

Parata, accompanied by Clutha-Southland National candidate Todd Barclay, visited the Balclutha school yesterday to meet students, staff and parents.

Poverty in small rural schools was one of the education problems raised with The Southland Times by a Southland principal before the minister's visit.

Parata said if National won the election, it would continue to invest in both health and social development. All schools became eligible for free breakfasts this year, and free doctor visits were being extended to all children under 13, she said.

"We believe that education and work are good for people and that's the long-term answer to hardship."

Parata also spoke about the Government's Investing in Educational Success policy, which was rejected by the NZEI union.

One Southland union representative said the policy was flawed and not driven by the sector.

Parata dismissed that.

"I'm very confident that we had a wide range of relevant and respected stakeholders involved", she said.

As for the troubled Novopay system, a Balclutha primary principal said he was still having problems. But Parata believed it had improved.

"The feedback [from schools] is that things are going much better; they're able to get on and do what they're meant to be doing."

A new Crown-owned company was taking over from Talent2, she said.

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