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Wananga receives $15m in error

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

9 June 2005

Wananga receives $15m in error

Trevor Mallard tied himself in knots today trying to justify $15 million of Treaty of Waitangi settlement payments made to Te Wananga o Aotearoa in error, says National Party Education spokesman Bill English.

Official ministerial briefing documents obtained by Mr English state 'the additional redress of $15 million was payable only on condition of certain performance measures as indicated in the deed were met. It now appears that the payments were made in 2002 and 2003 without performance measures being met'.

In Parliament today Mr Mallard claimed the advice was incorrect.

Mr English says it is typical of Mr Mallard to point the finger at his officials when things go wrong or he gets caught out.

"The deed of settlement is quite clear - payment would be made on the condition that at least 80% of students enrolled at the wananga were Maori. Given that just 48% of those at the wananga are Maori, it's clear the payment should never have been made.

"In fact, earlier this year Mr Mallard withheld a suspensory loan payment to the wananga on the grounds that it had moved well beyond its original role as a provider of education in a Maori context.

"The wänanga should never have received this payment and Trevor Mallard knows it. He is just too scared of the political ramifications of admitting he is responsible for the mess," says Mr English.

ENDS

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