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Cellular Scam At Taxpayers' Expense

Cellular Scam At Taxpayers' Expense

Friday 13 Aug 2004

Deborah Coddington - Press Releases - Education

Only an irresponsible Minister, from a financially irresponsible Government, could believe that dishing out free cell phones to Open Polytechnic students is a sensible use of taxpayer money, ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"Today I revealed that up to 12,000 correspondence students, enrolled in the Polytech's $23 million `Lifeworks' course, each received a free cell phone - courtesy of the Kiwi taxpayer," Miss Coddington said.

"Taxpayers will be angry that they are, not only paying for a free course with questionable outcomes but also, forking out their hard-earned dollars on cell phones that may or may not be used for the purpose intended.

"Mr Maharey appears to be more interested in putting more bums on seats by offering inducements - like cell phones - for people to enrol in airy fairy, feel good courses, that allow him to boast how many people are participating in tertiary education, than providing them with a quality education that leads to a job upon completion of the course.

"Spending millions on such courses and free cell phones, in addition to the Tertiary Education Commission's findings last week that the Christchurch Polytech offered inducements to students to enrol in a computer course, highlights Mr Maharey's poor handling of his portfolio.

"The Minister is treating hard-working taxpayers with contempt. He is wasting their money, driving our tertiary education sector into the ground and making it a laughing stock. Mr Maharey should stop hiding behind the polytechs and take some responsibility - a good start would be for him to resign," Miss Coddington said.


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