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Fix the problem and move on!

Education New Zealand Media Release

Fix the problem and move on!

3/12/03: For immediate general release.

‘The Government should meet the cost of the Modern Age bailout from consolidated revenue, rather than placing a retrospective impost on providers’, says Robert Stevens, Chief Executive of Education New Zealand. ‘Provided the systemic problem that allowed Modern Age to happen is fixed, a bail-out should then be viewed by the Government as a one-off cost, and thus more readily met by tax payers generally’, said Robert Stevens.

‘Considering the immense value of the education export industry to New Zealand’s economy, a one-off bail-out is a very modest impost for the country as a whole to bear. This is particularly pertinent considering that the Government is running a major Budget surplus’.

The Government today introduced legislation to increase the education export levy to some sectors of the industry, in an effort to recover costs it incurred following the demise of the Modern Age English Language School group which collapsed recently, leaving some international students in limbo. Education New Zealand has worked actively with Government and Industry stakeholders to ensure that there is the least possible negative impact on students, and that the systemic problem that allowed Modern Age to happen is fixed.

‘Education New Zealand welcomed the Government’s assistance with respect to Modern Age, but from day one has consistently cautioned that recovery of the costs associated with failed institutions was not the original intention behind the Levy’ says Robert Stevens.

This move is a retrospective impost on certain providers, and essentially amounts to a demand that certain providers pay for something for which they were not consulted (prior to the bail-out) or responsible. In effect the innocent are being penalised for being in the same category (PTE’s) as the guilty’, said Robert Stevens.

'The majority of institutions follow very prudent fiscal management strategies, particularly in respect of fees protection. The whole industry realises that the security of student monies must come first, so that their education and accommodation can be secure' says Robert Stevens.

‘As a country, we must learn from this, bite the bullet and move on – a one off bail out from Government would allow this to happen and for the industry to regain some positive momentum’, concluded Robert Stevens.

ENDS

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