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NZ universities support Labour’s commitment to lift funding

MEDIA RELEASE 18 August 2014

NZ universities support Labour’s commitment to lift funding

Universities New Zealand welcomes the Labour Party’s commitment to increase funding for health, education and other public services by $1 billion a year, says acting Universities New Zealand chair and University of Otago Vice-Chancellor, Professor Harlene Hayne.

“Over the past decade university funding has only increased at about half the rate of inflation, while the cost of providing an education has increased at nearly double the rate of inflation. The education sector has partially offset this funding gap by cutting costs and growing international student numbers. But all the easy gains have been realised and, without more funding, the only way to keep balancing the books in future is going to be by dropping quality.”

Universities New Zealand is also pleased to see the Labour Party’s commitment to repealing the current Government’s proposed changes to university councils. These changes would reduce the size of councils and increase the proportion of ministerial appointments.

“The proposed changes to councils have been opposed by most of New Zealand’s universities,” said Professor Hayne. The evidence base for the proposed change is still unclear. In the absence of that evidence there seems little need to fix something that clearly is not broken.”

Universities New Zealand also supports the Labour Party’s re-introduction of living allowances for post graduate students and the proposed support for post-doctoral graduates that would make it easier for them to find research work in New Zealand.

“Both these initiatives will increase the number of young people choosing to develop the research and innovation skills that New Zealand industry needs,” said Professor Hayne. “Right now, there are not enough incentives for the best young people to pursue research-focussed qualifications.”

ENDS

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