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$5 million education rort exposed

Hon. Bill English MP
National Party Education Spokesman

02 June 2006

$5 million education rort exposed

National Party Education spokesman Bill English is calling on Michael Cullen to investigate a taxpayer-funded tertiary education rort worth nearly $5 million.

“The taxpayer is continuing to be ripped off by millions of dollars in dodgy tertiary education courses.”

Mr English is commenting on a programme at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology which has had $4.985 million spent on it in the past three years.

“In that time, some 11,077 people in Nelson and Marlborough have enrolled in the DIY computer courses where there is no tuition, no assessment and no qualification.

“The polytechnic is being paid for courses that simply cannot be done. There would need to be more than double the number of computers available for every enrolled student to complete the hours being funded by the taxpayer.

“Furthermore, the offer of an inducement to prospective students appears to breach the Government’s rules.”

Mr English says a postcard distributed to all households in Nelson offered a free ‘draw to win your own computer’ in breach of section 4.9 of the 2006 Tertiary Funding Guide, which specifically prohibits the opportunity to win items like computers.

“Schools will be stunned to learn the polytechnic is being paid $650,000 a year to run a single computer suite, while local internet café owners are furious with what they see as taxpayer-backed competition.

“Michael Cullen said he’d sorted out this nonsense. Clearly, not much has changed,” says Mr English.

ENDS

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