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On wananga Clark has only herself to blame

On wananga Clark has only herself to blame

Wednesday 16 Feb 2005

Ken Shirley - Press Releases - Other

Helen Clark and her Government are solely to blame for hundreds of extra millions being poured into Te Wananga O Aotearoa, ACT MP Ken Shirley said today.

"It was Labour who opened the door to wanangas getting resourced the same way as New Zealand's recognised universities. It was Labour who in 2000 accepted the wanangas' claim that the Crown had breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

In contrast, under the previous National Government the Education Ministry in 1999 made it clear that while the wanangas had financial struggles there was no breach of the Treaty principles.

"It was under Labour that the highly lucrative funding formula for Te Wananga O Aotearoa got the green light. Wanangas had long been battling for an equal financial footing, but their calls of a Treaty breach had been overruled by a National Government.

"When Helen Clark came to power however the rules changed, closing the gaps became a priority, and the wanangas claim of a Treaty breach was accepted."

Mr Shirley said Labour talks about the Treaty being a living document but more worryingly the Treaty's principles are a moving feast. ACT believes the same standards should apply to all, regardless of race.

"It was Labour's redefinition of the Treaty of Waitangi principles in 2000, that saw government funding to Te Wananga O Aotearoa go from $3.9 million to a staggering $239 million."

Official figures showed the number of formal students enrolled at Te Wananga O Aotearoa increased from 1,770 in July 2000 to 37,915 at the same time last year.

"Helen Clark is keen to publicly present her concern and wash her hands of it but the blame lies squarely with her," said Mr Shirley.


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