Credit rorts, ‘ghost students’, ‘lives forsaken’ in latest tertiary scandal

Greymouth’s Tai Poutini tertiary education provider has been accused of putting lives at risk, rorting course credits and inflating course numbers with ‘ghost students’, but Steven Joyce refuses to investigate, Labour’s Tertiary Education Spokesperson David Cunliffe says.

“The Search and Rescue Institute of New Zealand (SARINZ) has made damaging accusations against Tai Poutini, specifically its Advanced Rope search and rescue course.

“It used to take several months and was worth 36 credits. It now takes one week and gains 54 credits. This could put lives at risk.

“In a letter Tony Wells, Acting General Manager of SARINZ, asks: ‘Are students aware that as SAR responders their lives are being forsaken so the polytech can make money?’

“In addition Mr Wells says Tai Poutini is inflating student numbers by enrolling tutors as ‘ghost students’ to boost funding and rort the system.

“Steven Joyce has known of this for some time. Labour started asking questions about this in May 2014, and Mr Joyce has received complaints since December last year.

“It took the Minister four months to reply to a letter alleging potential fraud at Tai Poutini and he simply referred them to officials.

“Mr Joyce has ignored these concerns and not even put the provider under investigation.  This comes off the back of similar rorts with Taratahi polytech and Western Institute of Technology.

“There is clearly a serious oversight issue for Mr Fixit. He has taken his eye off the ball. He must launch an investigation,” says David Cunliffe.