The primary sector has not been good at engaging, connecting and understanding Māori, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
Hipkins says the TEC will work with Taratahi, NZQA and StudyLink to support students in alternative options. Staff will also be supported.
“The financial problems surfaced at Taratahi in 2014 when it was not providing the teaching it was funded to deliver between 2009 and 2014. As a result, Taratahi was left with debts of $7.5 million due to under-delivery – in addition to hefty private sector debt it had incurred. Taratahi has repaid $3.5m of that, mostly by selling assets, but this is not a sustainable model.”
Hipkins says the government is “taking steps” to secure the home farm and is talking to providers to fill the gap in provision for students. But he says it’s clear the current model for vocational training for primary industry is broken and that the government plans to solve this for continuity in training students.
“We are looking at new models of primary industry training as part of the Vocational Education Training Review.”
Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor says he’s saddened and disappointed that Taratahi, a proud agricultural training organisation, has been found unsustainable.
“I am committed to primary sector training. We will continue working with industry on a plan for agri sector training that meets the needs of the industry now and into the future,” he says.