Tolley at it again
By Kelvin Smythe
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Tolley is at it again
Tolley claims the average teacher’s pay is $70,000
In a recent posting – ‘A minister habituated to a culture of myths, significant silences, distortions, and lies’ – I wrote of a minister who, when put in a hard place (and sometimes even a soft one), just blurts out any old thing to defend herself.
Well, she’s at it again.
The education minister, Anne Tolley, was interviewed by Colin Espiner on the Q & A programme hosted by Paul Holmes.
During the interview the minister made the outrageous claim that the average salary of a secondary teacher was $70,000.
The actual salary starting pay for a teacher at step 1 is $30,000 and the maximum at step 14 is $68,980.
How can the average pay of teachers, as claimed by the honourable minister, be $70,000, in other words, greater than the maximum possible pay of $68,980? The average cannot be greater than the maximum.
It is disgraceful that a minister of the crown misleads the public so blatantly with her propaganda (and that the journalists are not prepared – in both two senses of the word – to take the minister on).
Perhaps she is mischievously adding the management units as well as the principal’s salaries when principals are actually on a different collective contract.
During the interview, as a profile shot of the minister was shown, you could see that this was a minister at the end of her tether. But that is no real excuse for being a minister so desperately reckless with the truth.
If she wasn’t doing great harm to teachers and children, one could almost feel sorry for her.
It is my understanding that her father, a former principal, has rushed in to defend his daughter in a Hawke’s Bay local paper. (A confirmation of this is being sought.) If so, it’s rather touching and I commend him for his loyalty, if not his judgement.
This is a minister who cannot be trusted. In being given the portfolio she was being thrown a hospital pass by her male colleagues, but how different it would have been if Katherine Rich had been the minister, the shoe would have fitted her, but, unfortunately, we ended up with one of her sisters.
Katherine Rich would not have taken all this penny-pinching stuff as though it was gospel, no serious education minister ever does; Bill English would have been told where to get off.
As for the salary claim. John Key was all sweet talking this morning: ‘Oh he,’ empathised, ‘teachers really deserve a pay rise, but we just can’t afford it’. And he smiled his Stan Laurel, shallow interior, smile. The smile that might have sealed a thousand deals in London, but I have news for the prime minister, not with secondary teachers here in good old Aotearoa. Secondary teachers did not come down in the last shower. They know the difference between an empty grin and an empty pocket. They also know that the government campaigned on narrowing the gap between New Zealand and Australia, and getting a wage rise lower than the rate of inflation is an unusual way to set out to achieve it.
Meanwhile, another day, another distortion akin to a lie.
This is a minister we cannot do business with.