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Labour's no-show at conference speaks volumes

Pansy Wong National Party Associate Education Spokeswoman (International Education)

28 November 2005

Labour's no-show at conference speaks volumes

National's Associate Education spokeswoman for International Education, Pansy Wong, says she is concerned at the Clark/Peters Government's snubbing of a major international education conference.

"For the first time a major Australasian conference on international education is taking place in New Zealand but the Government is not sending any Ministers to it."

Mrs Wong is referring to the International Education Association's 16th International Conference that is to be held in Christchurch from Tuesday, and attended by more than 300 people from Australia and New Zealand.

"The Australians are serious about it, but it seems this Government is not.

"One of the major sponsors is Australia's Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs - a clear indication of their Government's support for the export education sector, but our Government is not sending anyone.

"The lack of support and appreciation for international education may be reflected by Labour's front bench chuckling apparently at the slip of the Immigration Minister's tongue that appeared to mimic my accent during questioning in the House last week. At the time I was asking a serious question on the difference between the stance of the Government and its Foreign Affairs Minister on international students.

"I am looking forward to speaking at the conference to highlight challenges facing the diminishing number of international students. National created the position of Associate Education spokeswoman for International Education because we are serious about the sector. It's a real pity Labour is not."

ENDS

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