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Fees-free the biggest waste of money in decades

9 March 2018

Fees-free the biggest waste of money in decades

The list of reasons why Labour’s fees-free policy is one of the most wasteful and badly-executed policies in decades keeps getting longer, with the calculation that $38 million a year will be spent on university dropouts, National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“Not only has this $2.8 billion policy had no real effect on enrolments, it has been so poorly designed that $38 million will be wasted on students who fail to finish their first year of study.

“This is taxpayers’ money going straight down the drain – all because Labour was so desperate to rush the policy through in its first 100 days, it didn’t bother to do the work needed to ensure that the $2.8 billion investment would be spent wisely.

“That $38 million could have otherwise gone towards improving our schools, roads, and hospitals or on investing in our tertiary sector so that it remains genuinely world-class.

“With academic performance requirements not being introduced until 2021 and the Government expecting more people to enrol in the second year of the policy, the amount of money being wasted on dropouts could reach up to $58 million a year.

“It’s not surprising that Education Minister Chris Hipkins wouldn’t appear on camera to explain to New Zealanders why his Government is frittering their money away.

“It must be rather embarrassing to be spending so much money and gaining almost nothing from it.”


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