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Brash Wrong On Education and Broadcasting Sell-Off

Why Don Brash is wrong on privatising public education and broadcasting

The government is welcoming the opportunity to debate the importance of public ownership of Television New Zealand and the tertiary education system, says Broadcasting and Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey.

Don Brash announced a future National government would sell Television New Zealand and privatise the education system on Wednesday – barely 24 hours after asuming the National party leadership.

Speaking at an Australasian conference on current media and tertiary education issues in the two countries at Victoria University of Wellington this morning, Steve Maharey said the nation’s public broadcasters and tertiary education institutions are essential assets making a major contribution to New Zealand’s economic, social and cultural development.

“Plans to sell public television, and presumably public radio, and to privatise the tertiary education system put the National party on the far right of the political spectrum. No other mainstream conservative party across the world is advocating such a radical step for very obvious reasons.

“Tertiary education is one of the most powerful tools we have available to grow national economies and to ensure citizens have the skills to participate in their society.

“In an increasingly globalised world our public broadcasters are even more relevant because they can sift through the information fog and tell us what we need to know and how worldwide events affect New Zealand.

“New Zealanders value TVNZ as a publicly owned network reflecting their interests through diverse locally-made programming.

“We will never succeed as a nation by becoming a branch of someone elses economy or society. We are confidently defining our own place in the world, and our public broadcasters and tertiary education institutions ensure New Zealanders are are informed and trained to succeed in it.

“That is why the Labour-Progressive government will never sell these essential public assets. It’s also why National is totally out of step with New Zealanders in advocating they should be sold,” Steve Maharey said.

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