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Fees-free flop today - polytechnics tomorrow

The Government’s confirmation that the $200m underspend from their failed fees-free policy will go into polytechnic reforms is nothing more than moving funds from one failed experiment to the next, says National Party Tertiary Education spokesperson Dr Shane Reti.

“Funding from fees-free will now be redirected into Chris Hipkin’s misguided and undesired polytechnic reforms, which are scheduled for a 1 January start date next year.

“The use of money from the fees-free flop to amalgamate and centralise regional polytechnics into one single Wellington polytechnic is fiscal pillaging.

“When funding is at a premium in the education space, the Minister is redirecting fees-free funds into polytechnic reforms that he has been completely unable to provide costings on. The Auditor General recently noted ‘there is limited information on the financial implications of the proposals’ and was unable to form a view based on the current information.

“If the Minister is seriously going to use fees-free money for an experiment with polytechnic reforms then he must immediately provide costings for the reforms, and take heed of the Auditor General’s advice to delay the proposed start date next year.”

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