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Mallard ducks reality of NZ fee increases

9 March 2005

Mallard ducks reality of New Zealand university fee increases

Trevor Mallard’s statement today that New Zealand university fees are one third of Australia’s is an exercise in being clever with numbers, and not recognising the detrimental reality of high fees for New Zealand tertiary students.

“Mallard has cunningly used 2003 statistics which fail to take into account the hundreds of dollars in fee increases students have faced in 2004 and 2005,” said Andrew Kirton, Co-President of the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA). “Many medical and teacher education students have actually faced 10% fee increases in each of those years.”

The NZUSA Income and Expenditure Survey (2004) revealed that between 2001 and 2004, there was a 34% increase in average university fees, from $4,217 to $5,644.

“Whether fees are $4000 or $5000 per year is not the point. These fees are still unreasonably high and students are being forced into unnecessarily large amounts of debt to pay for them,” said Kirton,

“Mallard has also failed to recognise the higher average wage that graduates can expect to earn in Australia,” said Camilla Belich, Co-President of NZUSA.

“If Labour were serious about making tertiary education affordable then they’d stop defending a climate of high fees, and actually commit to genuine policy changes that will benefit New Zealand tertiary students and their families regardless of how disadvantageous the user-pays tertiary system is for Australian students, " Belich said.

ENDS

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