In his column in the Dominion-Post on Friday, Chris Trotter denounced the government's engineering a financial crisis at Te Wananga O Aotearoa as "without precedent in the tertiary education sector":
What are we witnessing here? What is taking place before our eyes that we have been trained all of our (Pakeha) lives not to see?
The answer, I'm afraid, is the legal dissolution of a politically autonomous Maori institution by the executive branch of the Government - a process set in motion to facilitate the liquidation of millions of dollars' worth of Maori property.
What we are seeing is a raupatu: confiscation 21st-century style.
According to Trotter, this is driven by Pakeha alarm at Maori success. But it is nothing of the sort. It is driven by Te Wananga's failure to conform with the expectations we have for how public money is spent - notably, that it should be spent for the education of its students, rather than the enrichment of its management and their families. Nepotism and cronyism have no place in our public institutions, regardless of the colour of your skin, and I think the government is perfectly entitled to enforce that.
I do not want to see Te Wananga shut down. Despite its management, it has done an excellent job of encouraging Maori to pursue education. I want that to continue - and without money being corruptly diverted by management, it should be able to do a much better job.