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Pie in the sky promises

Maurice Williamson


National Tertiary Education Spokesperson

Thursday 19 July 2001

Pie in the sky promises

Steve Maharey's attempt to break the deadlock over the Government's pathetic funding offer to tertiary institutions next year with promises of future funding increases is 'pie in the sky' stuff, National's Tertiary Education Spokesperson Maurice Williamson said today.

"It is dreadful that a Minister of the Crown is trying to get himself off the hook for the nth time by offering a pie in the sky regime.

"He doesn't know how much, when, or if it will even happen but he's asking the universities to trust him!

"If Steve Maharey seriously thinks the tertiary sector will be fooled by this sort of smokescreen he really should not stay Minister.

"Mr Maharey showed universities his vision of what funding might look like under Labour before the last election and he hasn't even been able to deliver on that.

"It shows his desperation that he thinks by some promise of long term nirvana he can get himself off the hook.

"He says he has suggested to Michael Cullen and Trevor Mallard that the Government could convince institutions to give into its blackmail for the second year running by telling them what funding might look like in the future.

"What he doesn't say is how they responded. At a meeting between Universities and Government, Michael Cullen's response to the Vice Chancellors' requests for more money was two words, and they were a lot stronger than 'bon voyage'.

"Mr Maharey couldn't elaborate on the plans because he doesn't know yet, but he expects universities to trust him, again," Mr Williamson said.

Ends


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