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Wananga: Labour backs down

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

6 December 2005

Wananga: Labour backs down

National Party Education spokesman Bill English says Labour has today backed away from a decision made in June to sack the governing council of te Wananga o Aotearoa.

"In June, then-Minister of Tertiary Education Trevor Mallard wrote to the wänanga advising that he intended to sack the council, replacing it with a commissioner."

The sacking was delayed after Mr Mallard stated publicly that he was waiting for the findings of the report of the Auditor-General into goings-on at the wänanga.

That report, released today, confirms that the wänanga was using procedures not fit for a public entity. It also confirms financial mismanagement and multi million-dollar conflicts of interest.

Mr English says the report reveals nothing that has not been known for months

"But now new Minister Michael Cullen has backed down and decided to keep the council on.

"Now that our worst concerns have been confirmed, I would expect Dr Cullen to stick to the word of his predecessor and sack the governing council. But it seems that though Labour was prepared to talk tough during the election campaign, they are now content to see still more taxpayer dollars wasted.

"Dr Cullen has backed away from holding anyone accountable for millions of dollars of waste over six years. Taxpayers have every right to be concerned at this total lack of accountability, as outlined by the Auditor General," says Mr English.

ENDS

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