New Zealand Labour Party

Undue secrecy on tertiary sector rorts

Steven Joyce’s refusal  to reveal details of other tertiary institutions being investigated in the wake of the Taratahi debacle is unacceptable, says Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson David Cunliffe. 

“Damning inquiries into Taratahi, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi and the Western Institute of Technology are already in the public arena.

“Today Steven Joyce confirmed that one of the six new institutions under investigation had revealed details of matters that require further enquiries. He refused to name that institution. 

“This spate of rorts has raised serious questions about the ability of the Tertiary Education Commission and the NZQA to keep the system honest. 

“Deloitte has made the extraordinary admission that these authorities  are ‘neither designed nor resourced to detect  potential  fraud’. 

“A whistle-blower has already exposed a scheme where members and staff of the Warriors Rugby League Club were awarded certificates for an 18 week course after just one day’s study. 

“This week we had revelations that ghost students were being enrolled at the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre. Sixty-seven tutors were enrolled in entry level courses where little or no teaching was done. 

“At least $7.5 million in funds has been wrongly used by Taratahi and now must be paid back. 

“Today in response to a parliamentary question, Steven Joyce ‘fessed up to $57 million which was reclaimed from the tertiary sector in 2014. That’s a big  number in any one’s book. 

“It’s time the Minister named the tertiary institutions that have been investigated, including the one that is still currently being probed by the TEC,” says David Cunliffe.