Wananga Woes Demonstrate Tertiary Failure

09 May 2005 16:26:00


“Trevor Mallard’s ‘short-term loan’ of $20 million of taxpayers’ money (with more to come) on top of over $200 million already poured down this educational drain – along with (possibly) appointing a commissioner to oversee the Wananga and (maybe) an advisory group to work alongside the putative commissioner and the existing Mallard-appointed Crown Manager – is greeted as expected by Ken Shirley, Bill English and others with the joy of being vindicated in their attacks on the Wananga and its management,” says Libertarianz Education Deregulation Spokesman Peter Osborne.

“But is there really anything about which to be joyful?” he wonders.

“In the first place,” points out Osborne, “if the Wananga is so badly run, then why should more taxpayers’ money be spent where it has already been so flagrantly wasted? Does anyone really expect this ‘short-term loan’ to be repaid?”

“And would there really be a problem,” asks Osborne, “with the Wananga declaring bankruptcy and its assets then used for a decent school? After all, the assets don’t go away when bankruptcy is declared, and, as it is now, the government has just taken control of a private school, not something a libertarian should enjoy.

“And why have Bill English, Ken Shirley and Deborah Coddington been attacking the Wananga anyway?” wonders Osborne. “This Government is spending roughly a billion dollars a year on tertiary courses, mostly in what’s known as ‘low-level’ courses such as the degrees in air-hosting and diplomas in dog-washing and the like that have been exposed in various news stories. That billion dollars a year is being spent in a system that ‘follows the student’; in other words, if a student decides to enrol for a course, then the government will pay for it.”

“The other name for such a system is … a Voucher System. Such a system is exactly what ACT party luminaries such as Rodney Hide, Ken Shirley and Deborah Coddington have been advocating for years, and it is the system that the previous National Government put in place at tertiary level. Now they’ve got what they wanted, they don’t like what they see. Rodney Hide blames Mallard for ‘pouring in money without control.’ Does he really not realise that’s what a voucher system does?”

Osborne confirms that Libertarianz would remove the government from education altogether, giving back people’s taxes to those who paid them, and the schools to those who paid for them.

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