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Cullen's tertiary reassurances hollow

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

23 June 2006

Cullen's tertiary reassurances hollow

Tertiary Education Minister Michael Cullen's reassurances that the tertiary sector is coping are meaningless when they are contradicted by official papers, says National's Education spokesman, Bill English.

A recently released Tertiary Advisory Monitoring Unit briefing shows expenditure in the sector will outstrip income for the third year in a row, with polytechs hardest hit.

Mr English says in the next 12 months, universities and polytechs will spend $87 million more than they earn, four will run out of cash, two will almost run out, and eight will need a Government bailout to fix their problems.

Officials told a meeting of tertiary council members that only 11 of 33 universities, polytechs and wananga looked 'ok'.

"This news comes on top of bailouts in the past 12 months for Weltec in Lower Hutt, WITT in Taranaki, UCol in Palmerston North, and Te Wananga o Aotearoa," says Mr English.

"Dr Cullen's new policies to clean up Steve Maharey's mess are still a pipe dream, and won't even start before 2008.

"Dr Cullen will spend the rest of his term as Minister bailing out polytechs going broke because of bad Labour policy."

ENDS

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