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Bad start for latest tertiary reforms

Dr Paul Hutchison MP
National Party Tertiary Education Spokesman

12 December 2007

Bad start for latest tertiary reforms

Labour’s latest attempt to reform tertiary education is now almost law and there is already significant distrust from the sector, says National’s Tertiary Education spokesman, Paul Hutchison.

“Universities such as Auckland and Victoria will almost certainly lose funding, and Auckland will place restrictions on all courses from 2009. The university even had to put out its prospectus before it knew how many students it would be funded for.

“Polytechnics such as the very successful Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) could lose $8 million in funding while others, such as Western Institute of Technology (WITT), are being propped up.

“In answers to parliamentary questions, it was revealed that the Crown Controller at WITT is paid $2,000 per day, and an adviser from an accounting firm $2,600 per day. Labour is rewarding the unsuccessful institutions and punishing the successful ones.

“They have created a highly complex, bureaucratic system that is centrally controlled.

“Tertiary institutions such as SIT are being bullied to withdraw regional provision in Christchurch. Labour simply doesn’t understand that to achieve an effective system they should support those that achieve quality and value for money, irrespective of who the provider is or where they come from.

“In 2002 Steve Maharey was confident his ‘Charters and Profiles’ would be the ultimate solution for tertiary education, but, as the Vice-Chancellor of Victoria University wrote in 2005 : ‘the system is literally haemorrhaging dollars before your eyes’. The Charters and Profiles have now been replaced by an ‘Investment plan’.

“The new Minister of Tertiary Education, Pete Hodgson, has not been seen or heard from in any debate on the Education (Tertiary Reforms) Amendment Bill, yet he says the reform’s success is vital for tertiary education.

“This is not a good start.”


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