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University Blows Compulsory Levy Out of the Water

University Blows Compulsory Levy Out of the Water

Victoria University's response to Government plans for an export education compulsory levy is devastating, ACT Associate Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington said today.

"The Minister of Education has invited comments on his discussion document that proposes creating an `industry development fund' through a compulsory levy on all providers of export education. He has received from Victoria University pro-Vice Chancellor Neil Quigley not just comment, but a devastating attack against the rationale for a compulsory levy.

"For starters, Victoria University describes the document as "one of the most flawed and poorly informed pieces of policy analysis ever used to create a tax or levy in New Zealand." It argues the Government proposals "will exacerbate rather than ameliorate any problems arising from the proliferation of low quality providers in New Zealand". And it pins the blame for the proliferation of low quality providers of export education on the Government and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

"Point-by-point, Victoria University dismantles the very weak arguments the Government had relied on when it proposed a compulsory industry-wide levy. The university points out the obvious: "it is highly inefficient for the government to institute a scheme to shore-up small low-quality providers instead of letting competition drive consolidation and the elimination of those that are poorly managed", and states, "the only way to ensure the long-term viability of the export education industry is to deny low quality providers the protective cloak of the regulations and subsidies proposed".

"Given such compelling arguments against the export education industry development fund and levy, it is hard to see how Labour Ministers can justify continuing with plans to reward low-quality providers at the expense of high-quality ones.

"The Labour Government's knee-jerk reaction to every problem is to tax and regulate, when advice they are receiving from organisations including the Knowledge Wave Trust, Otago University and now Victoria University, is for Government to reduce taxes and get its clammy hands off the market," Miss Coddington said.

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