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Copeland: NZ First factor coming home to roost

Copeland: NZ First factor coming home to roost

New Zealand is paying the price for the NZ First factor with its $1.8 billion a year export education industry threatened by a 30 percent fall in student visa applications from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, United Future finance spokesman Gordon Copeland said today.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Copeland said that New Zealand First's "xenophobic policy line" was directly reflected in the March visa applications figures that had fallen dramatically on the figure from 12 months earlier.

With export education New Zealand's fourth largest foreign exchange earner, the country's Budget growth projections were now in considerable jeopardy, he said.

"And more specifically, with state schools so reliant on the income from foreign fee-paying students to finance capital works and extra staff, the question is how much pressure has been put on the education budget and how will that be dealt with?

"It seems that the country is going to pay a very high price for New Zealand First's tawdry political opportunism," Mr Copeland said.

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