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Mallard goes off half-cocked

Minister for Tertiary Education, Max Bradford, today rejected reports he was suppressing information on spending within the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

"Suggestions by Mr Mallard, that I have had reports for some time now and am 'choosing to keep them hidden' are ridiculous and plain wrong. Yet again Mr Mallard is going-off half-cocked,” Mr Bradford said.

"When rumours surrounding NZQA came to my attention, I immediately called for three reports relating to NZQA. Since then I have consistently said I would not make any further comment until I was fully appraised of the facts, unlike Mr Mallard.

"I received the last of the three reports on Friday night. I expect to release them publicly later this week once I have had a chance to fully consider them."

The reports Mr Bradford requested were:

 a State Services Commission review of the employment contract that the NZQA Board negotiated with former chief executive Dr Douglas Blackmur and the process by which that contract was negotiated;

 a Crown Law opinion as to whether the termination of Dr Blackmur's contract and the payment he consequently received conformed to the letter of the law;

 an inquiry by the Auditor-General into the authorisation of and accountability for travel, accommodation and entertainment expenditure.

Mr Bradford’s office received the Crown Law Opinion on 30 July, the Audit Office report on Wednesday last week and the SSC report on Friday.

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