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Smith lodges complaint over T-shirt grant

Nick Smith National Education Spokesperson

15 March 2002

Smith lodges complaint over T-shirt grant

National's Education spokesperson, Nick Smith, today lodged a formal complaint with the Auditor General over the Education Minister's spontaneous gift of $10,000 for T-shirts to Manaia View School in Whangarei, during a visit last Friday.

"This is nothing more than a shabby, election-year gimmick. It brings the whole system of school funding into disrepute. If the taxpayer should fund $10,000 for T-shirts at Manaia View School, why shouldn't other low decile or amalgamated schools receive such a grant? The only reason this school received this grant was because Mr Mallard was visiting and that is no way to fund schools.

"Mr Mallard decided that the choir and Kapa Haka group looked so smart at the celebrations of the newly amalgamated school that every pupil should have a new T-shirt. He announced, on the spot, a grant of $10,000.

"This $10,000 gift from taxpayers for T-shirts comes in the very week that he has told secondary teachers that there is not one dollar more available because the budget is so tight. It seems the Government thinks T-shirts are more important than quality teachers.

"Ministers should not be playing Father Christmas with taxpayers' money. The Auditor-General needs to set some basic standards of conduct about the process for spending public money," says Dr Smith.


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