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Street: "Chopper" Tolley Takes On A New Meaning

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Maryan Street
Maryan Street

4 June 2009 - In addition to attempting to get an overview of education by an expensive helicopter ride, which earned Anne Tolley the nickname of "Chopper" Tolley, the Minister now gives the nickname new meaning through the savage cuts to Adult and Community Education and Industry Training she has wrought in the budget, says Opposition Spokesperson on Tertiary Education, Maryan Street.

"These courses, which Mrs Tolley mocks and belittles through referring to a few, have provided a way back into formal education for thousands of New Zealanders over decades," said Maryan Street.

"Just at the time when everyone is focussing their attention on upskilling people so that jobs might be preserved and enhanced and New Zealand might haul itself out of the recession earlier and faster, Mrs Tolley is chopping the very mechanisms needed to assist that process.

"Up and down the country, newspapers are reporting stories of dismay at the cuts to Adult and Community Education. From Waikato to Westport, Manawatu to Ashburton people are decrying these cuts as short-sighted and counter-productive," she said.

"In addition to these cuts, Mrs Tolley has chopped $15.1 million from Industry Training funding. This includes cutting the CPI adjustment for 2010 - that is $9 million; reducing growth in funding for embedded literacy programmes - that is $2.6 million from 2012/13 onwards; and reducing the ITO Strategic Leadership fund - $3.5 million from 2011 onwards.

"When literacy and numeracy skills improvement is paramount for New Zealand's recession recovery, Mrs Tolley is chopping the legs out from under workplace training," she said.

"How can the Jobs Summit ever be anything more that a fruitless talk-fest and PR exercise with this kind of short-sighted approach to skills improvement?" she asked.

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