Strong tertiary education vital for our future

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party

The future prosperity of New Zealand depends on us having a well-educated workforce and a vibrant higher education sector that works to keep our best and brightest in New Zealand where we can all benefit from their great ideas and energy, Labour’s …David Shearer Tertiary Education Spokesperson

7 October 2011

Strong tertiary education vital for our future

The future prosperity of New Zealand depends on us having a well-educated workforce and a vibrant higher education sector that works to keep our best and brightest in New Zealand where we can all benefit from their great ideas and energy, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesman David Shearer says.

“Our tertiary education policy, released today, balances the need to keep further education within reach for all New Zealanders with ensuring the sector is funded to the largest extent possible in these tough times.

“We cannot afford to keep seeing our best talent disappearing offshore and watching our universities slip further down the world rankings as they have done in the past two years.

“Under Labour’s policy, we will:

• Retain the fees maxima system at its current rate of 4 per cent to keep fees under control. It is currently under threat by this government. • Maintain university funding at the rate of inflation, at least, and increase funding as finances allow – to ensure our universities remain internationally competitive. • Invest $6 million to reinstate the recently cancelled post-doctoral fellowships for PhD graduates so they are supported into research careers in New Zealand instead of overseas. • Establish a scheme for better funding ‘brilliant’ scientists. Funding would be portable to allow scientists to take it to the most appropriate institution, purchase equipment, recruit staff and attract other world leaders in the field to New Zealand. • Repeal the changes put in place as a result of the Government’s voluntary student membership legislation. • Restore $13 million cut from Adult and Community Education (ACE) funding to improve access to adult and community education. • Restore $2 million to the Training Incentive Allowance.

“Labour’s policy recognises the financial difficulties New Zealand now finds itself in while taking the required steps to ensure we are poised to quickly bounce back when the economy turns.

“It builds on our earlier announcements of 5000 additional places for 16 and 17 year-olds at polytechnics and institutes of technology, 9000 extra apprenticeships and restoring R&D tax credits, and will be bolstered by further announcements on skills. “We have also moved to keep education affordable at a time when many New Zealanders are struggling.

“Our polices of the first $5000 a year income being tax free, GST off fresh fruit and veges and lifting the minimum wage to $15 an hour will put more money in the pockets of full and part-time students to help them continue their studies,” David Shearer said.

ENDS

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