Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Politicians, Staff, and Students United Against Fee Increase


Politicians, Staff, and Students United Against Fee Increases


Only one-third of full-time, full year, New Zealand students currently have access to allowances. The maximum entitlement per week for a student, aged under 24, without children, and living away from home, is $171.84.

Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) and the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) are calling on this government, and successive governments, to seriously increase tertiary education funding. In the short-term, they are calling on the University of Auckland to freeze student fees at the current level.

The Graduate Longitudinal Study, funded by Universities New Zealand, revealed last year that as many as 1 in 6 final year students were living in absolute financial distress: unable to afford basic accommodation, food and housing. Only 1 in 8 students expect to have no debt when they graduate.

Politicians from Labour, Green and New Zealand First stand united with students.

“The root of the problem is the National led government’s continuing under-funding of tertiary education,” says Grant Robertson, Labour MP and Shadow Leader of the House. Robertson continues, “Steven Joyce has a stated goal of ‘dampening down demand’ for tertiary education. That means taking away opportunities from students through restricting access to allowances and loans. Now he is trying to take away the voice of students and staff from Councils. Labour is committed to working alongside students, staff and institutions to oppose this agenda, and to create a more accessible and affordable system.”

Tracey Martin, Tertiary Education Spokesperson from New Zealand First said, “Over the past five years the National led government has cauterized post-graduate allowance, limited the accessibility of higher learning and now we are expecting another blow from Steven Joyce. New Zealand First has always held the view that supporting our students is not just an individual citizen’s future but in the future of New Zealand”.

Gareth Hughes, acting spokesperson for Tertiary Education for the Green Party said, Auckland University’s decision to lock students out of today’s fee setting meeting is unfair, and cuts those affected out of the decision making process. Joyce’s governance changes would only worsen this, treating University councils like corporate boards, instead of the diverse and inclusive organisations they should be. Auckland Uni’s expected 4% fee rise comes on top of 3 years of the maximum fee rise, far outpacing inflation, all while students are struggling on insufficient support. This is only worsening student debt which is already at record levels. The Green vision is of a tertiary education system that is well resourced, vibrant, innovative and responsive to the needs of students and the changing needs of our society.”

Staff and Students Unite

Daniel Haines, AUSA President says “Persistent underfunding of tertiary education has meant the burden is transferred to staff and students as increased fees and redundancies. This government has a targeted policy of reducing the amount of money invested into tertiary education. They have consistently funded education below the operating costs o
f the University.

“For some years, increases in student fees have compensated for the Government’s failure to increase funding annually at a rate proportional to inflation, let alone university costs. Recently, this has forced the most financially vulnerable participants in the tertiary system, the students, to make up the difference.

“These amounts are derisory,” continues Haines, “given rent per week alone is often more than these amounts.”

The graduating student loan debt now average $18,000, up from $15500 in 2010. More than three-quarters of students use a loan to pay for their fees, up 10 percent over the last five years. Families are finding it harder to save for fees.

“An increase in tuition fees always results in inequitable outcomes for women, Māori and Pasifika students,” says Hannah Williams, Auckland University Pacific Island Students’ Association President. “This is because they generally have longer repayment times. Moreover, Māori and Pasifika graduates will on average earn less than Pākehā and/or male graduates.”

Fees at New Zealand Universities have increased 4 percent each year, or 21.7 percent over the past five years. This has run ahead of increased government contribution (16.5% but flat in terms of per-student funding), and the budget of the institution.

Mark Amsler, TEU Co-President said, “We believe the University of Auckland Council should listen hard to the voices of students, families, community leaders and even Minister Steven Joyce, who has cautioned university councils to think carefully about the impact raising fees by the maximum (4%) will have on students and families. Granted, it’s a bit rich for the minister to caution university councils, as the government proposes to reduce representation on university councils and continues to underfund the important, necessary costs of tertiary education in New Zealand. Instead, Government has steadily shifted the rising costs for tertiary education onto students and their families. Something’s gotta give.”

“Students have been paying more for less,” remarks Haines. “The Government needs to step up, but this university also needs to take a principled stance and freeze the fees now.”


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Anzac Issue Out Now: Werewolf 47

Hi and welcome to the 47th edition of Werewolf, published on the eve of Anzac Day. Its become a cliché to describe Gallipolli as the crucible of this country’s identity, yet hold on... Isn’t our national identity supposed to be bi-cultural... and wouldn’t that suggest that the New Zealand Wars of the 19th century is a more important crucible of national identity than those fought on foreign soil?

Yet as Alison McCulloch eloquently reveals in this month’s cover story, New Zealand devotes a mere fraction of its attention span and funding resources to commemorating the New Zealand Wars compared to what it devotes to the two world wars, Vietnam and Afghanistan... More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Spookwatch: New Inspector-General Of Intelligence And Security Appointed

Prime Minister John Key hasannounced the appointment of Cheryl Gwyn as Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. The appointment was made by the Administrator of the Government on behalf of the Governor General and is for a term of three years. More>>

Crowdsourcing: Green Party Launches Internet Rights And Freedoms Bill

The Green Party has today launched the Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill, New Zealand’s first ever Bill crowdsourced by a political party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Shane Jones Departure

Shane Jones has left Parliament in the manner to which we have become accustomed, with self interest coming in first and second, and with the interests of the Labour Party (under whose banner he served) way, way back down the track. More>>

COMMENT:

Multimedia: PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference - April 22 2014

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • The recent improvement in the economy with a growing job market • Income and wealth inequality • Easter trading laws • The New Zealander killed in a drone strike in Yemen... More>>

ALSO:

Easter Trading: Workers 'Can Kiss Goodbye To Easter Sunday Off'

The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. More>>

ALSO:

ACT Don't Go For Maximum Penalty: Three Strikes For Burglary, Three Years Jail

Three strikes for burglary was introduced to England and Wales in 1999. As in New Zealand, burglary was out of control and given a low priority by the police and the courts. A Labour government passed a three strikes law whereby a third conviction for burglaries earned a mandatory three years in prison... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home. More>>

ALSO:

Elections: New Electorate Boundaries Finalised

New boundaries for the country’s 64 General and seven Māori electorates have been finalised – with an additional electorate created in Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news