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Trust statement doesn’t get Hekia off hook

David Cunliffe
Labour Leader

24 March 2014

Trust statement doesn’t get Hekia off hook

Te Kohanga Reo Trust Board’s latest statement still leaves serious allegations of misuse of public money at Education Minister Hekia Parata’s door, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe.

“The Minister should have insisted on a full review of trust subsidiary Te Pataka Ohanga when these matters came to light last year.

“Instead she set up an inquiry that failed to investigate the allegations of misspending, leading to a further waste of taxpayers’ money.

“The Minister tried to bury this information last week under cover of darkness with a hastily convened press conference at which she insisted there was no misuse of public money – a claim that has been widely ridiculed.

“The very next morning the Minister called in the Serious Fraud Office, doubtless having been told by her bosses that her management of the issue was shambolic.

“Ms Parata’s latest blunder comes on top of a procession of stuff-ups and high-handed pronouncements: performance-based funding for schools, larger class sizes, the Canterbury schools’ debacle, Charter Schools, and National Standards.

Labour welcomes moves by the trust to revamp their governance structure as a step towards regaining public confidence.

But this is no substitute for credible responses to critical questions that should have been answered months ago.

“No amount of bluster, bullying and passing the buck by the Minister over the alleged misspending gets her off the hook."

“Only her departure from this crucial portfolio will give Kiwis some hope that their children’s education and taxpayers’ hard-earned money are in safe hands," says David Cunliffe.

ENDS

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