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Maharey all talk, no action on tertiary strategy

Hon Bill English - National Education Spokesman

16 September 2004

Maharey all talk, no action on tertiary strategy

Steve Maharey should focus on fixing his failed tertiary education strategy rather than wasting time trying to talk his way around the problems, says National's Education spokesman, Bill English.

"Mr Maharey has contested evidence that the construction industry, through an organisation called Site Safe, has worked out how to obtain tertiary education funding for a four-hour induction course for construction workers.

"But in the House last week, he agreed with me when I said these courses should be paid for by the industry, rather than out of the tertiary education dollar.

"I am waiting to hear from the Associate Minister about the action that he will take in follow-up to this admission.

"But threats from him usually turn into further discussions and nothing happens."

Papers tabled by Mr English show that workers had to pay a $40 penalty for either failing to fill out the enrolment form correctly or not wanting to do the course.

"Site Safe tell me that they have discontinued this practice because all construction workers wishing to do this course enrol voluntarily as students at Unitec," says Mr English.

"Like Trevor Mallard, Steve Maharey believes that shooting the messenger will make all his problems go away.

"But the fact remains he has publicly agreed with my contention that tertiary student funding was never designed to cover this kind of industry training. He has admitted it and now he has to fix it.

"The kind of bully-boy tactics displayed by Mr Maharey of late have me convinced that he is lining himself up to fill Trevor Mallard's shoes when the Cabinet reshuffle is finally announced," says Mr English.

ENDS

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