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Smith lays complaint with Auditor-General

Hon Nick Smith National Party MP

9 June 2006

Smith lays complaint with Auditor-General over computer courses

National MP Nick Smith has laid a formal complaint with the Auditor-General over the $5 million in taxpayer money spent on computer courses at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

"I have no problem with these computer courses, where they were actually completed," says Dr Smith.

"The rort is that more than 90% of students never completed them but the institute still got paid.

"My primary problem with these courses is the Government.

"Labour have overseen funding scams with the Wananga, Cool IT and twilight golf, yet still they have not put in place proper checks and balances to ensure taxpayers get value for money in tertiary education spending.

"It is already clear that NMIT broke the rules by offering a draw for a free computer for those who enrolled.

"The further problem is that there has never been enough computers for everybody to actually do the course.

"The worst aspect of the Government's tertiary funding is that it encourages tertiary institutes to run courses that most people don't finish, and closes down centres like the Richmond campus of NMIT that provide useful skills for the regional economy.

"I'm hopeful the Auditor-General can establish just how much taxpayer money has been wasted and put the heat on the Government to get on and fix the tertiary education funding mess," says Dr Smith.

ENDS

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