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Dive school rort took six years to dredge up

News that yet another private training establishment (PTE) has rorted the Government’s tertiary funding system since 2009 shows that Steven Joyce has no control of the sector, says Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe.

“Like Agribusiness Training and Taratahi, these rorts went undetected for years under the Government’s loose monitoring system and have cost the taxpayer millions.

“The New Zealand School of Outdoor Studies has been ordered to repay $1.47 million after a Deloitte investigation found serious discrepancies in the data it had reported to the Tertiary Education Commission.

“Deloitte’s report says a significant number of student enrolments from 2009-2014 ‘could not be validated’ and the School of Outdoor Studies under-delivered by up to 40 per cent on its contracted teaching hours from 2010-2015.

“It’s an embarrassment that such huge discrepancies can have gone unnoticed since 2009. It is typical of this increasingly out of touch Government.

“There is also a human cost to the Government’s weak monitoring system, with the School of Outdoor Studies also convicted last year for its role in the tragic death of a foreign student at its Huntly dive school in 2014.

“The Tertiary Education Minister’s recent confirmation that two PTEs are at risk of default and 19 are considered ‘high-risk’ raises further questions about the true extent of rorting in the sector.

“New Zealanders should feel confident their investment in tertiary education is being looked after and that they aren’t being ripped off. Steven Joyce needs to come clean on just how many other rorts he is aware of,” says David Cunliffe.