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Labour drowned in advice on wananga

Hon Bill English National Party Education Spokesman

7 December 2005

Labour drowned in advice on wananga

National's Education spokesman, Bill English, says Labour Ministers have ignored advice from as far back as April 2002 about serious problems at te Wänanga o Aotearoa. Mr English today released Ministry of Education papers obtained under the Official Information Act showing that officials had briefed Ministers extensively on issues of concern at the wänanga.

"These documents show that the officials themselves were frustrated by a lack of decisive action, with one official complaining of 'large meetings which are drawn-out and everyone agrees but no action comes of it all'," says Mr English.

"Labour was far too slow to act when hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars were at stake. Ministers were warned by their own officials about problems concerning governance and financial mismanagement in 2003 but did nothing.

"In 2003, they were warned about conflicts of interest, financial delegations and issues around compliance with legislation." Mr English says successive Labour Ministers have been so well briefed on the wänanga that they must have known more about its problems than those running the institution.

"Labour has spent millions on consultants, audits and officials to watch over the wananga. It's ridiculous to suggest they didn't know that it was in so much financial trouble."

ENDS

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