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Govt to Place Moratorium on Further Universities

The government has introduced legislation limiting the number of universities to eight, the Associate Education Minister (Tertiary Education) Steve Maharey announced today.

The Education (Limiting Number of Universities) Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament yesterday. Mr Maharey said that it is Government policy not to increase the number of universities beyond the present eight institutions. The Government has established a Tertiary Education Advisory Commission to give it advice on the structure of New Zealand's tertiary education system and the bill will prevent further universities being created while the Commission goes about its work.

"New Zealand is a small country. We need to make best use of our resources to ensure that the appropriate mix of quality tertiary education and skills training is available throughout the country. The Government wants to build a coherent tertiary education system where each institution is encouraged to play to its strengths according to an agreed nationwide plan.

"New Zealand's tertiary education system has suffered in recent years from a complete lack of direction. This Government is clearly signalling that we want to be an active and careful steward of our public tertiary institutions.

"I have already established a Tertiary Education Advisory Commission to give us advice on the strategic direction our tertiary sector should be moving in and how the various players can make this happen. In the context of the Commission's work we do not believe it would be sensible to create further universities until this advice has been received.

"If this bill is passed all current applications for university status will be placed on hold.

"The bill will be referred to the Education and Science Select Committee with a report back date of 19 June 2000 and once passed will take effect from the date of introduction", Steve Maharey said.

ends

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