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Labour all talk, no action over Wänanga

Hon Bill English
National Party Education Spokesman
11 April 2005

Labour all talk, no action over Wänanga

National’s Education spokesman Bill English says Labour Education Ministers have been aware of the problems at Te Wänanga o Aotearoa for at least three years but have done nothing to remedy them.

This lack of action prompted an official from the Ministry of Education’s Tertiary Advisory Monitoring Unit (TAMU) to say they were “tired of going to large meetings which are drawn out and everyone agrees but no action comes of it all.”

Official documents obtained by Mr English show that between April 2002 and February 2004, Trevor Mallard and Steve Maharey received at least 42 briefings outlining problems at Te Wänanga o Aotearoa, including a series of weekly briefings in 2003.

Mr English says the documents reveal frustration among officials concerned by a lack of progress in tackling the issues raised with the Ministers.

“The Ministers’ response to the concerns of their own officials amounted to a lot of hot air but no action.”

A June 2003 briefing concerning conflict of interest policies, conflict management and governance at the Wänanga issued the following stark warnings:
- “Fundamentally, these issues are still not being addressed in the way we would like to see.”
- “[The Wänanga] now needs much stronger governance… and quality of decision making process. It is, in our view, urgent to have this addressed.”
- “Fundamentally, the concern is at the slow progress being made.”

“Labour has known about the serious problems at the Wänanga for years, but has continued to pump tens of millions of dollars into it at the expense of trade-training and apprenticeships,” says Mr English.

“Now that the seriousness of the issue is in the public eye, Trevor Mallard is making noises about cracking down on the Wänanga but his record is one of all talk, no action.”

Ends

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