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Mallard caves in on wananga

Hon Bill English MP
National Party Education Spokesman

24 August 2005

Mallard caves in on wananga

“Labour is too scared to follow up Trevor Mallard’s decision to sack the wananga council and replace it with a commissioner,” says National Party Education spokesman Bill English.

On June 20 Trevor Mallard announced his decision to sack the council of Te Wananga o Aotearoa because of financial problems. He wrote to the wananga council to inform them of this decision. The council had 21 days to respond.

“Mr Mallard could have gone ahead with the sacking six weeks ago, but instead he’s decided to sit on his hands.

“The Minister is ducking for cover. He’ll lamely argue that legal reasons prevented him from taking action, but that’s a sham. The reality is there is no legal justification for the delay.

“Mr Mallard has already correctly followed all the legal steps set out in Section 195D of the Education Act. The legislation requires him to consider the wananga’s response - that is all.

“So, Trevor, why haven't you followed through?

“Two months ago he was adamant the council had to go.

“Today, the public is owed an explanation as to why he’s done nothing, especially in light of the controversy surrounding the wananga’s use of public money.

“With Labour planning to give the wananga more than $150 million taxpayer dollars this year, there has to be accountability,” says Mr English.

ENDS

Te Wananga o Aotearoa
Timeline of Decisions


February Brian Roche appointed as a Crown Observer to the wananga, an advisory role.

March Brian Roche’s role upgraded to Crown Manager, with approval from the wananga. This non-statutory appointment included a delegation of all financial responsibilities previously held by the council.

9 May Cabinet approved a $20 million loan to the wananga. Loan to run until 31 July. Improved management structure a condition of the loan.

Trevor Mallard wrote to the wananga council indicating his intention to consult with them and other interested parties, on the possible need to appoint a commissioner, as the investigations of the crown manager had “revealed the situation to be worse than initially thought.”

14 May Initial deadline for wananga’s response to Trevor Mallard.

16 May The wananga council responded by letter to Trevor Mallard.

20 June Trevor Mallard wrote to the council providing his preliminary decision that a commissioner should be appointed to replace the wananga council. A commissioner is the highest level of statutory intervention under the Education Act. The wananga legally had 21 days to respond to this decision.

11 July Original cut-off date for submissions from wananga, deadline extended until 19 July.

19 July Wananga council made its’ final submission on Trevor Mallard’s proposal to appoint a Crown Commissioner. From this point on Mallard was legally permitted to appoint a commissioner.

The wananga’s submission called for a reduction in the size of the Council from 14 to five members, the implementation of a new management structure, and the retention of the Crown Manager for 12 months.

18 August Wananga proceeds with creation of six executive director roles while continuing to await response from Trevor Mallards as to whether he will disband the council or not.

22 August On “Nine to Noon” Trevor Mallard cites ‘legal requirements’ as impediment to the the appointment of a commissioner.

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