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Hocking off family jewels not in national interest

Hocking off the family jewels not in national interest

Government pleas for a university not to sell off land to the highest bidder is evidence of a tertiary sector that has lost sight of its public purpose, said Green MP Nandor Tanczos.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Conservation Minister Chris Carter have tried to persuade the University of Auckland not to hock-off one of the last remaining untouched coastal ecosystems on the Coromandel Peninsula, Waikawau Bay, for cash to build a business school.

The University plans to sell the 300ha block, gifted to them last year, to the highest bidder when tenders close this week. By selling the land to the private sector, the land is likely to be carved up for development.

The Green Tertiary Education Spokesperson said the situation signifies everything wrong with the tertiary environment, resulting from years of neo-liberal dogma that put money as the measure of value.

"Why must the Prime Minister go cap-in-hand to the university and beg them not to sell off an unspoilt environmental jewel? This is evidence that the tertiary sector is dominated by self-interest, falsley inflated competition and motives that have nothing to do with the broader interests of New Zealand," said Nandor.

"The University of Auckland says it needs the money to build a business school. Like we need more commerce graduates," said Nandor.

"It is time that an ecological perspective informs decisions in the tertiary sector. That is what Green Party amendments to the Teritary Reform Bill call for.

"How will another new business school benefit this country when the cost is sacrificing a pristine, untouched and rare ecological treasure to a horde of developers' bulldozers.

"Our universities are placing profit over the public interest, and have lost sight of what is really important to New Zealand and New Zealanders.

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