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NZQA spending blow-out on travel & accommodation

NZQA spending blow-out on travel & accommodation

National Party Education spokesman Bill English has released figures that show staff at the NZQA have been spending large amounts of taxpayer money on travel and accommodation under Trevor Mallard's stewardship.

Mr English is commenting on answers provided to written Parliamentary questions that show $50,000 is now being spent on a 'Business Redesign Project ... with a view to defining the Qualifications Authority's core business'.

"By supporting an NZQA deficit that grew to $3.78 million in the 2002/2003 year, the Education Minister's allowing vital education dollars to be swallowed up by an operation that no longer knows what its 'core business' is.

"Meanwhile, spending on staff accommodation and travel has gone through the roof," says Mr English

"It is another example of a burgeoning bureaucracy under Labour. The Government believes it knows better than anyone else how to run schools and universities. The taxpayer's footing the bill for its mistakes," says Mr English

Answers to written Parliamentary questions show the bill for staff accommodation went up from $52,877 in 1999/2000 to $148, 816 in 2000/2001. It grew again in 2001/2002 to $174, 019 and again in 2002/2003 to $302,277.

"The NZQA's staff accommodation budget has grown nearly six-fold, while NZQA staff travel is now costing the taxpayer 340% more," Mr English says.

The written answers reveal the cost of staff travel has risen from $166,506 in 1999/2000 to $533,905 in 2000/2001 $562,113 in 2001/2002 and $567,454 in 2002/2003.

Mr English says the NZQA has been the target of teacher frustration over the NCEA and it has been plagued by questions about spending under Labour.

In 2000 the Authority was condemned for paying out $580,000 in bonuses to staff, including $2000 to each staff member for hard work and the 'stresses and strains' of shifting offices.

Last year National revealed the number of NZQA staff being paid more than $120,000 a year jumped from none to 10, permanent staff numbers grew by 80% and the bill for consultants more than tripled.

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