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Business should ignore anti-skills report

Business should ignore anti-skills report

Jobs and opportunities would be threatened by a suggestion that students should pay more for tertiary education, Economic Development Minister and Progressive leader Jim Anderton said.

He's calling on business groups to distance themselves from the suggestion in a report by the Education Forum.

Jim Anderton says the report's recommendations amount to a tax increase on knowledge and skills.

"At a time when almost every business I speak to is complaining about a skills shortage, it is deeply irresponsible to advocate cutting access to tertiary education.

"We need to find ways to make tertiary education more affordable and accessible.

"Increasing student fees and student debt will only deepen the skills shortage we face already and that would cost jobs as well as a better future for many of our best and brightest young people.

"The days are over when New Zealand can afford pontification and idle theory. We need real, practical solutions, which make a contribution to New Zealand's long-term sustainable development.

"The hands-off 'eyes shut' faith in market only solutions, as advocated in this report, have lost credibility. It didn't work and it left New Zealand society trailing the world.

"We need more good quality jobs and that requires better educated young people, not increased taxes on knowledge."

Education Forum report release:

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