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Columbus Academy closing NZ operations

3 July 2003 Media Statement

Columbus Academy closing NZ operations


The Auckland-based Columbus Academy has advised authorities that it is closing down its New Zealand operations following a multi-agency inquiry launched by the Government earlier this year, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

The investigation was launched in late February following the alleged murder of a young Japanese man who lived at the academy.

“The investigation’s top priority has been the safety and welfare of Japanese nationals resident at the academy,” Trevor Mallard said.

“I am advised that Columbus Academy no longer has any role in the care of students in New Zealand. Students previously involved with Columbus have all now either returned to Japan or are in homestays arranged by their schools in consultation with their parents.

“The academy has now written to the authorities advising it is closing its operations in New Zealand and selling its businesses and properties. The businesses have been sold but as yet not the properties. A manager has been engaged to oversee this process.

“Of the 66 people associated with Columbus, 25 have now departed, 17 are on valid immigration permits, ten are facing police charges in relation to the alleged murder and the others are still going through immigration checks and applications.”

Trevor Mallard said issues arising from the Columbus incident are being addressed through a proposed strengthening of welfare and accommodation provisions in the review of the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students.

A draft revised code has been out for consultation and the review is due to report back to ministers shortly.

“I would like to thank the agencies involved in this investigation, and also acknowledge the help of the Government of Japan,” Trevor Mallard said.

The agencies involved in the multi-agency investigation were the Ministries of Education, Health, Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Immigration Service, the Employment Relations Service, the Inland Revenue Department, the Police, Child, Youth and Family and the Fire Service.

ENDS

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