Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Students To Challenge Tuition Fees In Court

A group of students from Auckland University are lodging a claim in the High Court within the next several weeks to seek judicial review of the process by which the University sets its fees.

“As fees keep increasing year by year and the level of debt spirals out of control, students are becoming desperate. It is time the government, and by extension the University, be made to take into account its’ obligations under International Covenants when setting funding and fee levels,” said Eva Neitzert, Education Vice President at the Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA).

In 1968, New Zealand signed the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. The Covenant came into force in New Zealand ten years later. Article 13 of the Covenant provides that
… Higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education. [emphasis added]

In 1992, the National Government sought to comply with the Covenant by removing the standard full-time tertiary tuition fee. The government gave each university the power to set its own fees, but it began a substantial reduction in per-student funding, so that effectively university's were forced to make up the difference from students.

Public universities are part of the government. The law increasingly holds the government to its international obligations. A group of Auckland students are challenging whether, under the existing law, the government and the universities it owns can increasingly make higher education more expensive to students.

"The university is caught in the middle of a funding war," continued Ms Neitzert. "The government pays less and less per student and students have to pay the short fall. AUSA realises the university is beginning to show signs of poor quality as it cuts staff and resources, but someone has to challenge the government on policies that make the youngest adults bear costs that gives them huge debts before they even finish their education."

“We are disappointed that our attempts to alert the government to the crisis in the tertiary sector have been ignored. We now feel that we have no other option but to turn to the courts if we wish to stop this catastrophe in the making,” concluded Ms Neitzert.

Eva Neitzert 309 0789 x 204 or 021 665 139
Education Vice President (AUSA)

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Broken Estate: An Expat Expert Surveys Our Media

Melanie Bunce cut her teeth in journalism at the Otago Daily Times. Now she teaches and researches it at one of the UK’s most prestigious journalism schools and tracks the trends that shape the uncertain future of news... More>>

Controversial Reforms: Te Papa Chief Executive To Step Down

Te Papa’s Chief Executive Geraint Martin announced today he will step down from the role at the end of the year. Mr Martin said he had achieved what he set out to do at the museum, and Te Papa was in a strong position for the future. More>>


A City Possessed: New Edition Of Book Coincides With Ellis Case Appeal

Originally published in 2001, A City Possessed is the harrowing account of one of New Zealand’s most high-profile criminal cases – a story of child sexual abuse allegations, gender politics and the law. More>>


Te Wiki O Te Reo: Tribute To NZers Embracing Te Reo

Māori Language Commissioner Rawinia Higgins says everyday New Zealanders are proving Māori language critics wrong by coming together and embracing our national, indigenous language. More>>


Howard Davis: Four Women In A Man Cave - The Pink Hammer

As the play's publicity package playfully inquires - “Five unhappy people in a shed full of tools. What could possibly go wrong?” More>>

Howard Davis: The NZSO Present Transfiguration

The rich, lush, and luxuriant music of Rachmaninov, Strauss, and Wagner will be in the capable hands of Asher Fisch and French Canadian pianist Louis Lortie. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland