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Brash must clear up questions around funding

11 October 2006

Brash must clear up questions around funding promises to Brethren

Don Brash needs to clear up questions around National Party policies that would have seen funding to Brethren schools doubled if a National government was elected, says Education Minister Steve Maharey.

"In 2004, the National Party ruled out increases to education funding. Then on 14 April last year, Dr Brash announced that if elected, National would lift the state's contribution to independent schools to a 50 percent contribution," Steve Maharey said.

"This would have doubled funding to Exclusive Brethren schools, providing an additional $4.5 million over three years. There is no policy rationale for increasing funding for independent schools only, but there does seem to be a political one.

"It is clear that Don Brash and John Key met with the Exclusive Brethren around the time this policy changed, but they have repeatedly refused to provide dates of these meetings, or details of what was discussed.

"This raises questions that Dr Brash could clear up very quickly by telling the public when those meetings took place and what was discussed.

"This will immediately clear up any questions around whether the National Party changed it's education policy on funding schools in return for support from the Exclusive Brethren.

"Dr Brash has now admitted he didn't delete the diary entries around this time, after previously saying he did. That means he can tell us when the meetings were and what issues were on the agenda."

Steve Maharey said the policy to lift funding for independent schools was outlined in a speech given by Dr Brash on 14 April 2005 and posted on the Scoop website. Reference to the policy was removed from a later version of the speech.

ENDS


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