New Zealand Labour Party

Joyce must explain Taratahi fiasco

Steven Joyce must explain why a whistle-blower was needed to launch an investigation into the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, says Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe.

“At least $7.5 million has been inappropriately received by Taratahi and now must be paid back.

"The scale of Taratahi's mismanagement is large. Sixty-seven tutors were enrolled in entry level courses where little or no teaching was done. 

“Taratahi has now been referred to the SFO and that is a necessary step.

“But this has been going on since 2009. Why did the accountability systems fail? Why did it take a whistle-blower to expose it? 

“What was Taratahi’s  Board doing? How was the Tertiary Education Commission’s oversight unable to pick up these rorts until now?

“It now raises the question of how many of the country’s 600 tertiary institutions have problems of this kind. How many have been systematically overfunded. 

“Why did a 2015 NZQA report into Taratahi find that there were ‘no significant educational concerns with programme delivery’?

“The Minister needs to explain why the system failed so badly and what is going to change to ensure it does not happen again,” says David Cunliffe.