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Today’s $5 million investment announcement in Telford is much needed following months of uncertainty, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says.

“While it’s a shame this announcement did not happen in January, as a strong supporter of rural and regional New Zealand I welcome the good news,” Mr Walker says.

“After months of uncertainty, which was worsened by last week’s polytech mega-merger announcement, this provides relief for staff and students for the next two years at least.”

“It is however confusing, as Taratahi was allowed to fail for the want of $5 million.”

“The Southern Institute of Technology, which took over ownership of Telford this year, had halted international recruitment before today’s funding announcement because of the shadow of doubt over Telford’s future.”

“After months of lobbying for Telford’s future, I’m pleased the importance of Telford has been recognised by the Government in this investment.”

“I’m hopeful this will enable the wonderful work of SIT chief executive Penny Simmonds, the Telford Board and wider team to continue, and for this recruitment process to start again.”

“It does pose further questions though, bringing Telford under the Government’s control when SIT will be amalgamated into the mega-polytechnic.”

“It also does not satisfy wider community concerns around job losses and regional autonomy as assets and control are consolidated with the one mega-polytechnic.”

“Telford is vital to our primary sector as we need trained and skilled staff entering our industry.”

“Today’s announcement is a step in the right direction in working to support and protect New Zealand’s primary sector.”

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