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Tories vote free education - will Bill too?

Tories vote free education - will Bill too?

Progressive education spokesperson, Helen Fairgay is challenging Bill English to emulate the Conservative Party in Britain in his budget speech today with a pledge to make education free.

The Conservatives promise to remove tertiary fees is the centrepiece of its effort to make itself electable again after successive election routs.

(See BBC story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3023807.stm)

Helen Fairgay says there are parallels for National in New Zealand, which has similarly been locked out of office by following the far right policies of the past.

"Today -- budget day -- would be a perfect opportunity for National to stake out a new policy position, and pledge to remove tertiary fees," Helen Fairgay said.

The Conservatives in Britain are pledging to remove tertiary fees. National promised it in 1990, even though they reneged on the pledge later. So clearly it is possible for National to contemplate free education.

"Removing tertiary fees would go a long to dealing with the skills shortage and reversing the brain drain. It would ensure that we don't waste our talents by putting barriers in the way of knowledge. It is a fundamental issue of generational fairness.

"The Progressives favour universally accessible education and if National copies its British counterpart, we will be the first in the queue to congratulate them", Helen Fairgay said.

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