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Fee Maxima Fails Tertiary Sector

21 August, 2003
Fee maxima fails tertiary sector

Green MP Nandor Tanczos said the Government's fee maxima system announced today would fail to address student hardship and problems created by an underfunded tertiary education sector.

Nandor, the Green Tertiary Education spokesperson, said the Government has effectively legislated for perpetual fee increases and is pushing too hard for vocational courses.

"While I am glad Minister Steve Maharey has pulled back from the widely-expected massive rise in fees, I am concerned that the Minister has enshrined perpetual fee increases," said Nandor.

"This will allow institutions to squeeze more money from students every year and I do not share the Minister's optimism that institutions will limit fee increases to annual inflation.

"A BA degree raised by five per cent over only three years would add an additional $500 to the fees, surpassing the $4000 mark. The negative impact of this is compounded when adding seven per cent student loan interest into the mix," said Nandor.

Nandor said that liberal educations, such as the BA, are being short-changed in favour of vocational courses.

"The Minister's approach places too much emphasis on vocational courses. While we do need practical skills, the Government's approach fails to recognise that education plays a wider purpose.

"What New Zealand needs is innovative people with wisdom to back the skills they are taught but we don't see much wisdom with this Government's focus."

Nandor said New Zealand would be better served by investing more money into tertiary education by pulling out of failing overseas sharemarket funds.

"There would be a more sustainable return for the future of New Zealand if we stopped wasting millions of dollars offshore on a fund that followed a $76 million loss with a $47 million loss.

"It's a short-sighted view that sees education as a cost rather than an investment in the future of New Zealand.

"The Government must realise that the money they pour offshore could be wisely invested back into tertiary institutions so they don't have to trade off student fees against teaching budgets," said Nandor.

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