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‘Put Iwi First’ Advisor Tells Failing Charter School

Tracey Martin MP

Spokesperson for Education
29 JANUARY 2016

‘Put Iwi First’ Minister’s Advisor Tells Failing Charter School

New Zealand First is astonished the Education Minister’s advisor told failed Whangaruru charter school to “put iwi first” and hold on to a taxpayer-funded farm that cost nearly a million dollars, says New Zealand First Education Spokesperson Tracey Martin.

“The incompetence of Education Minister Hekia Parata is astonishing – she even signed the original contract basically ‘gifting’ the farm to the trust running the school.

“We have previously pointed out that the Minister’s lack of business nous led to a failure in the contract to require the school to return taxpayer purchased assets in the event of the school shutting down, as it has.

“Official Information Act documents obtained by New Zealand First show that as the Minister was trying to rescue this failed experiment she recommended an advisor to the school’s Nga Parirau Matauranga Trust board. The advisor told them to keep the land for part of a Ngati Wai treaty settlement.

“The 81 hectares in Northland was purchased out of the original $1.6 million establishment funding. Total funding for the school reached $4.9 million.

“In 2013 in Parliament New Zealand First questioned the ‘gifting’ of the farm to the trust. It was obvious that the Minister had given away millions of dollars of land and assets to a private trust.

“How many more errors of this magnitude will it take before the Hekia Parata is removed as Minister of Education? Add this blunder to class sizes, Novopay and the dropping of New Zealand in international education rankings and we can see a Minister out of her depth.

“Any further roll-out by National of this ACT flagship policy should stop now.”


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