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Tolley’s chopper tour hardly value for money

7 April 2009 Media Statement
Tolley’s chopper tertiary tour hardly value for money

Tertiary Education Minister Anne Tolley’s use of a helicopter to get an ‘overview’ of Auckland’s tertiary sector was an unnecessary and cavalier use of taxpayers’ money, says Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Maryan Street.

“Confirmation of the helicopter trip today comes just days after it was announced 70 jobs were being slashed at the Tertiary Education Commission, which was established to ensure proper accountability around the investment of public money in tertiary education courses.”

It also follows repeated calls by the Government for better value for money in the public service,” Maryan Street said.

“Given this and the belt-tightening facing many New Zealanders as a result of the recession, how can Mrs Tolley justify taking a helicopter tour of Auckland?

“Answering questions on behalf of the Tertiary Education Minister in the House today, her colleague Wayne Mapp sought to defend the jaunt by claiming Mrs Tolley had needed to get a clearer understanding of Auckland’s population pressures,” said Maryan Street.

“Surely Dr Mapp has done his colleague a disservice. Does she really need a helicopter ride to get a grip on the fact that Auckland’s population is growing?

“This is a Minister who refused to meet student leaders for so long, they embarked on what they called in numerous student magazines ‘The Great Tolley Hunt.’

“No wonder it’s been hard to find her, she’s been travelling on quite a different plane. It seems Mrs Tolley’s priorities are a little topsy turvy at best,” said Maryan Street.

ENDS

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