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English tries to divert attention from Nats cuts

30 May 2005

English tries to divert attention from Nats cuts

Tertiary institutions that have not exploited the 5.1 community funding category for tertiary education will not lose any funding as a result of the current tertiary funding reviews, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

"Mr English should stop making things up, and stop trying to divert attention away from National's planned spending cuts. Why can't he be upfront about what he plans to scrap and how that will affect the regional provision of tertiary education," Trevor Mallard said.

"National has pledged to cut up to 16 percent of government expenditure across the board. In the education sector, this would result in cuts of almost $1.4 billion per year. Bill English should explain what he is going to cut, instead of making up things about this government's intentions," Trevor Mallard said.

"If our government decides to reduce the overall amount allocated to 5.1, then every dollar of reduction will be reinvested in higher quality tertiary education," Trevor Mallard said.

"Our government is committed to a strong, viable network of regional polytechnics and institutes of technology. However, I do not believe that funding high volume, low value courses is a satisfactory way to prop up the viability of tertiary institutions.

"It is better to pay them properly for quality provision rather than funding what Bill English used to describe as rubbish.

"It's ironic that Bill English spent most of last year criticising community education funding, labelling it as "scandalous spending of taxpayer funds". Now he wants to keep it. So what does National stand for? His press statement now suggests a flipflop and that he now supports the status quo.

"I have signalled very clearly to polytechnics and institutes of technology that I do not believe that the massive increase in spending on classification 5.1 over the past few years has produced value for money.

"The current reviews of tertiary education expenditure are designed to ensure that funding is re-invested in and shifts to areas of demonstrated quality that is relevant to the needs of individuals, communities and the New Zealand economy.

"This is about ensuring get taxpayers' value for money, but it is not to save the government money - as the savings will be reinvested in tertiary education."

ENDS

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