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Less than half of students are regularly attending school.
The latest truancy data shows regular attendance in term one dropped to just 46 percent.
It's down on 72.8 percent in 2019 - pre Covid - and 50.5 percent in 2020.
National's Education spokesperson Erica Standford says this is not just a social failure but a future economic crisis.
Erica Standford joined Kerre Woodham.