Maryan Street Speech: College of Chiropractic
Maryan Street Speech: Opening of the new site for the New Zealand College of Chiropractic (NZCC) Mt Wellington
Thank you for the opportunity to open this fine facility and greetings to you all.
I bring you greetings and best wishes from my colleague the Minister for Tertiary Education, Pete Hodgson, who was unable to be here today.
It is a busy and exciting time for those of us involved in tertiary education and training.
Almost two years ago, the government signalled it wanted major change in the way we invest in the sector. Late last year, the Tertiary Education Commission reached a major milestone in implementing that change when it announced investment plans and supporting funding for more than 100 tertiary education organisations.
Notwithstanding the response from Southland, the changes have been largely welcomed, and for good reason.
We spend more than $3 billion on tertiary education and training each year. We have a responsibility to ensure that money is spent wisely and with the country’s economic and social needs at heart.
That is why we have put in place a system where the needs of stakeholders – those who benefit from tertiary education and training like employers and the students themselves – have more say in what is offered in the country’s tertiary education organisations.
We wanted to alleviate some of the unnecessary duplication that occurred as different institutions competed with each other for funds by offering courses and qualifications that they had no proof were needed.
We wanted to recognise the diversity of the sector but at the same time, ensure that what we funded was in line with our tertiary education goals and aspirations, and the government’s commitment to a broad and inclusive tertiary education system.
The New Zealand College of Chiropractic is a valued part of that system.
The government recognises private training establishments like the college for the role they play in supporting achievement in tertiary education and training.
Yours is one of the most diverse parts of the sector. PTEs are wide-ranging in terms of operation, location, ethnicity, culture and areas of educational expertise.
That diversity provides for a range of responses to specific needs and we value the contribution you make to the network of education provision that serves our country.
That’s why government’s commitment to funding organisations like the college is unfaltering. This year the college will receive more than $1.6 million of government funds.
As well, I know that you will be working with the Tertiary Education Commission to develop an investment plan this year. Those plans are important. They are the way that we ensure that our system is truly responding to the needs of their communities. I wish you well in this task.
One focus within these plans is the requirement to demonstrate what need there is in the community for the skills and qualifications that your organisation offers students.
I think some of this has already been shown in a labour market assessment published just over a year ago by the Department of Labour. It highlighted the fact that nearly 50,000 New Zealanders visit a chiropractor every week and that demand for chiropractors is increasing at approximately 7.5% per annum.
A survey by the Chiropractic Association has also shown an overwhelming public demand for more practitioners.
Wearing another of my hats, as Minister of ACC, I am aware that the 1999 legislative change which allowed patients to go directly to chiropractors for treatment rather than through a doctor is in part responsible for this increase in demand.
ACC also tells me that they have indications that injured workers receiving chiropractic treatment – as opposed to other medical approaches – returned to work in less time and showed less reliance on medication and less cost to the health care system.
That surely is a positive endorsement for your profession.
The job that you are able to do in educating future chiropractors to practise in our communities is surely going to be enhanced by these fine new facilities. They are top class facilities, and in themselves are an example of the kind of specialist niche that PTEs are able to fulfil.
Congratulations to Brian Kelly and his team in getting these facilities up and running.