"Cynically dumping news of the liquidation of rort-ridden Agribusiness Training Ltd (ABT) over a long weekend can't hide the fact that the tertiary sector is in a compliance crisis", Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe says.
ABT has gone into liquidation with a $6 million-plus bill to pay back funds improperly received from the taxpayer following an investigation by the Tertiary Education Commission and Deloitte. The future of students enrolled at the Southland based organisation remains unclear.
"Following in the wake of scandals at Taratahi, Tai Poutini Polytechnic, WITT and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, this latest fiasco proves there is something badly wrong with the tertiary funding system.
"ABT was apparently deliberately overcharging the taxpayer with grossly inflated student numbers, course durations and completion rates, yet it took years of obvious non-compliance for the TEC to finally crack down and expose the rort.
"Further work should be done to establish whether criminal fraud issues arise.
"New Zealand’s tertiary education can no longer be run as an honesty box system where unscrupulous providers rort the taxpayer blind for years until they are unlucky enough to get caught,” David Cunliffe says.