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Time to stop playing the blame game, Dr Cullen

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

26 January 2006

Time to stop playing the blame game, Dr Cullen

National's Education spokesman, Bill English, says the public can draw their own conclusions about Michael Cullen's pathetic attempts to blame National for the raft of problems in the tertiary education sector.

His comments follow a speech to the New Zealand University Students Association in which Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen said the problems in the tertiary sector were the fault of policies adopted during the terms of previous National Governments.

"Despite more than six years thinking about it, more than $500 million spent on it, and more than 700 pages of documents contemplating ways to fix it, successive Labour Ministers have continued to blame National for the problems in the sector, including the millions of dollars wasted on low-value courses" says Mr English.

"It was National that blew the whistle on these courses and the spiralling waste in the sector. But instead of fixing the problems, Labour is poised to escalate them by enticing more students than ever into these courses with the promise of money for nothing through the interest free loans scheme.

"Students are not stupid - they know a good deal when they see it - but Labour's policies are very stupid and things are about to get a whole lot worse.

"It's time Dr Cullen moved to fix Steve Maharey's legacy of dodgy courses, financial blowouts and high student dropout rates, rather than continuing to pass the buck and put all the blame on previous Governments.

"After six years of endless strategies, taskforces, reports and statements of priorities, all Michael Cullen is able to conclude is that it's going to take another five years to fix. That's not good enough," says Mr English.

ENDS

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