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Cullen driven 'WITT'-less

Dr Paul Hutchison
National Party Tertiary Education Spokesman

14 December 2006

Cullen driven 'WITT'-less

Labour has been negligent with yet another tertiary institution, this time the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT), says National's Tertiary Education spokesman, Dr Paul Hutchison.

"Michael Cullen's negligence over the past six years has cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of valuable education dollars.

"In May this year, Dr Cullen said 'I am not aware that WITT is in such a dire state of crisis', and yet the Government has poured $24 million of grants and loans into the cash-strapped polytech since 2000.

"In the past nine years WITT has posted five deficits - this year it is $5.7 million.

"In March last year, a Crown appointed manager was sent in to assist with the financial management. Four months later the Government handed out a $4.8 million loan.

"Now, Dr Cullen has put in a Crown Commissioner and thrown another $7million at them.

"Labour has continually demonstrated its inability to financially manage the tertiary sector, with an estimated $1 billion wasted on soft courses, incomplete courses and the Te Wananga o Aotearoa scandal.

"This amounts to a systemic failure throughout the country.

"Clearly it's time for the academics Cullen and Maharey to be led permanently out to pasture. Their failures with provincial tertiary education has literally driven them 'WITT-less'."

ENDS

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