INDEPENDENT NEWS

Joyce unaware of National MP on Taratahi board

Published: Thu 17 Sep 2015 12:44 PM
David Cunliffe
Tertiary Education Spokesperson
17 September 2015
Joyce unaware of National MP on Taratahi board
Steven Joyce, the Minister of Tertiary Education, did not know of his MP colleague Barbara Kuriger’s role on the board of Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre during the time it has been accused of rorts and fraud, Labour’s David Cunliffe says.
Taratahi's website confirms that Barbara Kuriger was a member of the board from April 2012 to April 2014, during which time it is alleged that course numbers were being inflated and tutors were being listed as course participants to boost funding.
“It is obvious that despite being an MP for the past year Ms Kuriger has failed to disclose to the Minister her involvement in this very public mess. Her role is noted in her bio on the National Party website.
“Mr Joyce confirmed in Parliament yesterday that he had no knowledge of her appointment or role. This is frankly appalling and raises a number of questions.
"Why did Barbara Kuriger not exercise proper care and responsibility as a board member over the last two years?
"Why does Steven Joyce not know what is going on in his portfolio, and why was he not properly briefed?
"Why did he not take earlier and firmer action to sort out Taratahi when a Deloitte investigation made clear that systematic misreporting, potential fraud and improper use of taxpayers’ funds had been occurring for years?
"Steven Joyce is losing his grip on his portfolios. It has all been downhill for the hapless Tertiary Education Minister since he took his eyes off the ball to oversee the disastrous Northland by-election debacle,” David Cunliffe says.
ENDS

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