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National is disappointed by the news that the Taratahi Institute of Agriculture is going into interim liquidation, National MPs Paula Bennett and Nathan Guy say.

“The Government is bribing students into tertiary education through its fees free programme and yet is now allowing one of our biggest agricultural tertiary education providers to fold,” National’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment spokesperson Mrs Bennett says.

“This will have a huge impact on the around 900 students and 250 staff who were due to start and facilitate courses at Taratahi this summer.

“We believe Taratahi approached Ministers for cash flow of $4 million to keep it afloat but this Government has failed to support it. Taratahi needed just a fraction of the $2.8 billion fees free bribe or the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund and yet Ministers couldn’t find the money to keep Taratahi training students while it worked through its issues.

“This Government has badly let down rural communities, students and staff. It talks up its support of the regions but has once again turned its back on them when it matters.”

“Wairarapa-based Taratahi and Southland’s Telford have a long-standing and valued place in primary sector education,” National’s Agriculture spokesperson Mr Guy says.

“This is a sad day for New Zealand agriculture. The performance of the primary sector is critical to our economy, and that depends on having well qualified, motivated and high-quality workers.

“We hope that Taratahi can be salvaged. The agricultural sector is dependent on farming graduates to serve the industry. Taratahi plays an important role in providing those graduates.

“The primary sector is growing and New Zealand needs 1,100 new workers each year. The much needed industry skills pipeline is now in jeopardy with around 900 fewer graduates.”

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