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Maharey laughing stock at polytechs

Hon Bill English - National Education Spokesman

5 October 2004

Maharey laughing stock at polytechs

A well-known and inspirational speaker, Mike Tamaki, has unwittingly been caught up in the latest tertiary education funding scam says National's Education spokesman, Bill English.

"I have been advised that people who attended a business lunch in Timaru earlier this year were told that they could stay and hear Mr Tamaki speak if they filled out a form enrolling them at this 'course' at Aoraki Polytechnic.

"This form made their attendance at the lunch an official community education enrolment," says Mr English.

This revelation follows news at the weekend that the same polytechnic claimed $3.6 million in community education funding for, among other things, a cooking demonstration, exercise for the elderly and participation in a wine and cheese trail.

"Labour has created an entire industry of dubious courses that are nothing more than a cash-cow for polytechs and a ridiculous use of taxpayers' money," says Mr English.

"The Minister himself has expressed doubt about the nature of many community education courses and Trevor Mallard says he is 'not satisfied with the quality of spend in tertiary education'.

"But Steve Maharey hasn't used his extensive Ministerial powers to do anything about it. The holes in TEC's funding rules are wide open for exploitation and polytechs continue to exploit the rules for cash.

"These holes need to be closed and vetting procedures for new courses need to be in place to make sure they are real courses, encouraging real learning as opposed to cooking demonstrations or long lunches.

"Steve Maharey and TEC are standing idle while community education providers find more creative ways to waste millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars," says Mr English.

ENDS

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