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More Money Next Year - Yeah Right

National's Tertiary Education spokesperson Maurice Williamson today urged universities not to give in to blackmail from desperate Government Ministers over the fee freeze deal.

Mr Williamson likened the pressure on Government members over the funding deal to 'a powder keg about to blow'.

"Labour backbenchers are highly uncomfortable with the 'woefully inadequate' funding offer. The Alliance members are in such a meltdown that they almost need counselling.

"The pressure is continuing to build as the 31 August deadline creeps closer with no sign of more money this year - just pie in the sky promises about the possibility of extra money next year.

"When the first fee freeze offer was made in the 2000 Budget, it was presented by the Government as a one-off move.

"Now the Government has come back and is expecting universities to agree to yet another one-off fee freeze with promises of a better funding package next year. As the slogan for student beer Tui says - 'Yeah Right'.

"If Vice Chancellors hold their nerve, the Government will be faced with no option but to adjust the offer. It will be a case of who blinks first loses.

"Labour promised to reduce the cost of tertiary education for students. The Alliance promised to make it free! The Government don't want to go into an election year with students facing fee increases of up to 27% so they'll promise anything to get the universities to agree to the fee freeze.

"I urge all tertiary institutions to keep applying pressure to local Labour and Alliance MPs. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never have so few delivered so little to so many," Mr Williamson said.

Ends


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