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So Why Did Mallard Go to Asia?

So Why Did Mallard Go to Asia?

Friday 22 Nov 2002 Donna Awatere Huata Press Releases -- Education

ACT Education Spokesman Donna Awatere Huata today asked why taxpayers paid for Education Minister Trevor Mallard's May trip to Asia to "promote export education opportunities" when he has now decided to cap the number of foreign students allowed into the country.

"In May, Mr Mallard spent a fortnight in South Korea, Hong Kong, China and Japan at the taxpayers' expense. As Education Minister, his stated purpose was to "lead an education delegation to promote export education opportunities".

"While in China, Mr Mallard said it was unlikely the Government would ever insist on a maximum percentage of overseas students.

"His announcement yesterday indicates he will go against his own word. He has rendered pointless any promotion he engaged in. He went to Asia to sell our country, then he came home and yesterday sold us all out.

"Mr Mallard hasn't received any new advice or research to prompt him to mouth off about capping the number of foreign, fee-paying students. His decision was based on nothing more than Labour polling and ludicrous suggestions from teachers' unions and the New Zealand First party.

"Mr Mallard certainly hasn't paid any attention to the facts - or to principals, who have come out firing at his short-sighted decision.

"One principal warned today that many schools would be bankrupt within a year if they are forced to reduce the number of fee-paying international students. This principal says that in his own school, fees from international students had paid for three full-time staff, a learning assistant teacher, a teacher aide and information technology.

"Another school has used some of its new income to pay for English language teachers who help the seventy or so local, non-fee paying students with language difficulties. Those students would otherwise miss out.

"Export education helps every child, and every community. Mr Mallard's about-turn is utterly unprincipled," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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