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Mallard sat on hands over wananga

Mallard sat on hands over wananga

National’s Education spokesman, Bill English, says taxpayers have been landed with a $20 million bill for Trevor Mallard’s incompetence and complacency.

“Mr Mallard has known about the serious problems at Te Wananga o Aotearoa for at least three years but has been too spineless to fix them.”

The Minister of Education yesterday approved an urgent $20 million loan to help meet the wananga’s immediate financial needs.

Mr English says Mr Mallard was so well briefed on the wänanga that he must have known more about its problems than those running the wänanga.

Papers obtained by Mr English under the Official Information Act show ministers received specific weekly briefings on the wananga since 2003.

“Mr Mallard also had advisors on the inside – leading Labour candidate Shane Jones was appointed to the wananga’s Audit and Risk Committee in 2003,” says Mr English.

“In addition to Mr Jones, Mr Mallard paid consultant Graeme McNally more than $120,000 to keep an eye on the wananga’s financial position.”

Official papers show the wänanga was subject to at least 25 audits, checks and investigations over the past three years, as well as regular meetings between the chief executives of the NZQA and the Ministry of Education.

“Trevor Mallard has spent millions on consultants, audits and officials to watch over the wananga. It’s ridiculous to suggest he didn’t know that it was in so much financial trouble,” says Mr English.

“Mr Mallard must explain himself. Either he ignored all the advice officials gave him, or he heard the advice but was too scared to do anything because of Maori politics in the Labour Party.

“Either way, it’s a $20 million mess to add to Labour’s trail of destruction in the tertiary education sector,” says Mr English.


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