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Steven Joyce just doesn’t get it

5 December 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Steven Joyce just doesn’t get it

For Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce’s to say that it is “good news” that 30,000 fewer people were undertaking tertiary education in 2011 than the year before shows just how out of touch the National government is, Labour’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Training spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

“If Steven Joyce thinks that its good news that people are missing out on education and training opportunities, I would hate to see his idea of bad news. This is typical of Mr Joyce, who sees the cost of everything, and the value of nothing.

“There are now fewer people in tertiary education in New Zealand than there were a decade ago. This is hardly a positive sign, especially in a period of high unemployment when we would want people to be re-training and gaining new skills to help lift us out of the economic doldrums. We need more people gaining skills and re-training if our economy is to grow and jobs are to be created.

‘It is true that there was exploitation of the funding system in the middle of the last decade that saw a major spike in enrolments. But that was well and truly dealt with before National came into office.

“Mr Joyce claims that the drop in enrolments relates to pre-degree courses. This is no reason to celebrate - these courses often act as an entry point for those who have struggled in the education system or who need to re-train.

“Taking opportunities away from those people is as short sighted as it is heartless.

“The reduction in enrolments is a direct result of National’s cuts in funding across the tertiary sector from adult and community education through to Polytechnics. They have also reduced access to both student loans and allowances.”

“No one should be in any doubt that this is part of the Government’s strategy. Shortly after becoming Tertiary Education Minister Mr Joyce said it was his plan to ‘dampen demand’. This means denying people the opportunity to achieve their potential.

“Mr Joyce needs to stop seeing education as a cost to be cut and start investing in New Zealand’s future,” Grant Robertson said.


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