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The Whitewash didn’t wash and now they’ve finally acted

19 March 2014

The Whitewash didn’t wash and now they’ve finally acted

Moves to call in the SFO over spending by the Kohanga Trust or its subsidiary are months too late and show the Government realises its whitewash over the funding fiasco has failed to wash with the public, the Green Party said today.

“Just this morning Hekia Parata was claiming the Trust had been cleared of all wrong doing, and that she had no authority to investigate allegations of misspending by Te Pataka Ohanga (TPO) because it was a separate business” Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei said.

“The minister tried her darndest to make this scandal go away but, despite her best efforts, it wouldn’t. Now she has finally acted by asking an appropriate authority to investigate these very serious allegations.

“That the SFO has been finally called in is good news for kohanga kids but they should not have had to wait for months, even years for Government ministers to take concerns over spending by TPO seriously.

“Mrs Parata’s idea that, just because the Kohanga Trust established a business arm, it could do what it liked with public funding was never going to wash with New Zealanders.

“The Minister tried to say that what TPO did was not her business. But it is absolutely the business of the Education Minster to ensure that kids are not being fleeced by the organisation given public funding to educate them.

“Hekia Parata’s actions have been far too protective of Te Pataka Ohanga, and the Trust so far. This morning she was saying that TPO did not receive any public funding. But real people see through that.

“TPO is entirely funded through deductions from the funding given to individual kohanga. That is public money that is set aside for education. If too much of that money is given to TPO, then not enough is spent on kids” Mrs Turei said.

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