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Government must drop anti-Unitec bill

Hon Bill English
National Party Education Spokesman

23 January 2005

Government must drop anti-Unitec bill

The Government could avoid wasting taxpayer funds on expensive legal action if it abandoned its anti-Unitec Bill, which is currently before the House, says National Education spokesman Bill English.

He is commenting on a report that Unitec is suing former Education Minister Trevor Mallard and New Zealand Qualifications Authority for $3.5 million after the Government admitted it broke the law in blocking its bid to become a university.

"Labour's opposition to Unitec becoming a university is irrational and elitist," Mr English says.

"If Unitec meets the legal criteria they should be allowed to be a university

"NZQA almost certainly broke the law by not dealing with Unitec's application. Steve Maharey has confirmed this in a letter.

"The best way to clean up this mess and avoid hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars going down the gurgler is for the new Tertiary Education Minister, Trevor Mallard, to stick to the current law and drop the ridiculous legislation which is before a select committee.

"It is time for Labour to admit defeat and cease its unfair stalling techniques," Mr English says.

Ends

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