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Brash must put up or apologise for university slur

23 February 2004 Media Statement

Brash must put up or apologise for university slur

The government is continuing to demand that National Party leader Don Brash apologise for falsely claiming universities are lowering their standards to let Maori students graduate.

Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey wrote to Dr Brash this morning repeating his demand that he apologise for the comments made on One News last Thursday. The comments were repeated by National’s colonial affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee on 20/20 last night. New Zealand’s universities and the key professional associations have since confirmed in writing that, contrary to Dr Brash’s claims, the standards for graduation and entry to professional associations have never been lowered for Maori or any other group.

Steve Maharey said Dr Brash must now put up the evidence for the claims, or unreservedly apologise for them.

“Dr Brash’s comments were disgraceful because they were not only inaccurate, they also called into question the professionalism of Maori doctors, lawyers and other professional who New Zealanders put their trust into every day.

“The nation’s universities, the Institute of Professional Engineers, the Nursing Council, the Medical Council and the Dental Council have all confirmed that Dr Brash’s claims are wrong.

“I am publicly releasing the letter I have sent to Dr Brash today because his comments cannot be allowed to stand. It’s not good enough to continue misleading New Zealanders as he has been doing for the last two weeks. He must apologise and he must pull his spokesperson into line,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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