Labour’s tertiary election policy

Labour launched a refined tertiary education policy yesterday – they had already indicated what they would be offering some time ago. Key pledges – from the start of 2018:

  • Boost living cost assistance for students by $50 a week (currently about $170).
  • Everyone starting tertiary education for the first time will get one year full-time study fees free.

To be “funded out of the $6b that Labour has allocated to education in our Fiscal Plan” – that must be additional spending on education.

This is a big push to get the young vote. I’m not sure it will have the same impact on parents and grandparents that the Labour interest free loans policy had in 2005 (that is regarded as swinging that election in Helen Clark’s favour).

Labour’s summary:

Labour to make continuing education more accessible

Labour will increase the amount students can get in student allowances and living cost loans by $50 a week, while accelerating our plan to make three years of post-secondary education free, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.

“Labour’s plan will mean more young people can go on to study after school and gain qualifications with less debt.

“Students have told us that the priority needs to be living costs. Just getting by week-to-week has become a significant barrier to many people continuing to study.

“Right now a typical student receives an allowance of around $170, but many tell me that’s not enough to even cover their rent.

“Labour will therefore boost living cost assistance for students by $50 a week from the start of 2018.

“I’m keen to remove tertiary fees as quickly as possible, so I have brought forward by one year our three years’ free policy. From the beginning of 2018, everyone starting tertiary education for the first time will get one year full-time study fees free. That will be extended to two years free in 2021 and three years free in 2024. If conditions allow, we will accelerate this policy further.

“At the same time, we will restore the ability of people studying on long courses, like medicine, to get student allowances and loans. These high-level qualifications are in growing demand; it makes no sense to deny support to people studying towards them.

“This policy is funded out of the $6b that Labour has allocated to education in our Fiscal Plan, which has been independently assessed by BERL.

“Post-secondary school qualifications are becoming a necessity. If New Zealand is to be a wealthy, successful country in the 21st Century we need more of our young people going on to universities, polytechnics, other tertiary providers, or industry training such as apprenticeships.

“Yet, the proportion of young people in post-secondary school education and training is falling. We can’t continue going backwards on education if we want to go forwards as a country.

“Our commitment to life-long learning underlines the clear choice voters face this election – Labour believes in free education for everyone, and that’s what we’re working towards,” says Jacinda Ardern.

Free tertiary education for everyone is a big aim. Balanced against the promotion of better education is the risk of too much irrelevant education that won’t help people get better jobs, and too many people taking on free education when they are not capable of passing.

The costings should take into account of a probable need to expand universities and polytechnics to cater for increased numbers of students.

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24 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  August 30, 2017

    Can’t see any mentioning of bonding in return for this taxpayer largesse. My natural mum’s teacher training was subsidised, but she was bonded to work in rural schools for two years. Something she actually enjoyed & found exceptionally rewarding.

    Fortunately for me, because that’s how in Te Kuiti she met a young, handsome, hard-case, ex-WW2 vet & constant comedian, travelling farm equipment & supplies salesman, who fathered me & my siblings. My natural dad – our dear Irish-ancestored ‘da’.

    Reply
  2. pickled possum

     /  August 30, 2017

    Morena Geeza You up earlie in the morning!

    When some of my friends went to do a degree to get a NZQA
    mainly to get more money.
    They were bonded for 5 years to their Dept
    that let them do this over a 2 year period.

    They got their weekly wage. The degree cost $50k ?
    plus it was a way of paying this course fee back.

    Many went back, but some were frustrated with their Dept
    after being on the outside looking in after the 2 years.

    They were supposed to pay the course fee back then ….
    I wonder if many or any did.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  August 30, 2017

      Kia ora sis. Ae, I have slept the sleep of the righteous many times these last few days & am feelin fine & fit for the fray. Somebody has to keep Sir Alan under control. Fortunately he is too busy still fighting the revolution against the oppressors on behalf of good hound owners up North to disturb the peace & serenity of the blog at the moment.

      Reply
  3. PDB

     /  August 30, 2017

    Kiwiblog hits the nail on the head – those going straight from school into the workforce not helped & instead paying tax to students/education providers & an increase in more worthless courses;

    “Those who gain a degree earn $1.6 million more on average over their lifetime than those who do not. That is a huge personal benefit which is why we say that they should contribute something towards the cost of that degree. Not a huge amount – usually $20,000 or so. A great investment for a $1.6 million return.

    Labour’s frontbench is dominated by former student politicians who think students should pay zero towards their education. They think a truck driver should pay more in taxes so the lawyer has no student debt.

    A small business truck driver owns his own truck. He needs to borrow money to fund that truck to set him or herself up in business. But Labour are saying doctors, lawyers and accountants should have taxpayers provide 100% of the costs of their education.

    It’s an awful awful policy.

    Not only is it a huge transfer of wealth to the richest in society, it will lead to a massive increase in worthless courses. If someone else is paying, people don’t care as much about the quality. You will again see people signed up for courses in hamburger joints, so that tertiary providers can get more of the “free” money Labour is promising.

    This policy will cost $1.2 billion a year. Imagine what you could do with that money if you spent it in areas of real need, rather than bribing students who are going to become very wealthy.”

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  August 30, 2017

      ‘than bribing students who are going to become very wealthy.”…tend to agree…it will just produce more..National voters.

      Reply
  4. Isn’t that what elections are, using our money to try to bribe us to vote for them so they can be generously paid with our money?

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  August 30, 2017

      Seems particularly bad this election though – I’d suggest spending promises are at an all-time high due to the healthy state of the govt books.

      Let’s spend this!

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  August 30, 2017

        another U Turn from National is what you are alluding to no doubt.Couldn’t afford extending paid parental leave before,but now they..can.One day they’ll have an original…idea.

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  August 30, 2017

          They are doing it gradually as they can afford it rather than in one big hit the opposition wanted – there is a difference.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  August 30, 2017

            Um .. maybe, but I am trending toward that tweet from Le Blazeur on this one!

            Reply
            • PDB

               /  August 30, 2017

              Blazer omits the fact that at the time Labour and the like wanted 26 weeks National had just lifted it from 14-16 weeks with it going to 18 weeks a year later. Their policy has always been in lifting it gradually, it’s not new.

            • Gezza

               /  August 30, 2017

              Ok, you get half a point each. Because I reckon you can bet Winnie Peters’ $18k Jacindamaniaphobia influenced the timing.

  5. David

     /  August 30, 2017

    There are probably too many already going to uni and there is little economic advantage in some degrees already so this is just a subsidy for better off kids to do what they would do anyway.
    A degree is not of the same value that it once was seems a bit daft to devalue it further while importing tradies.

    Reply
    • pickled possum

       /  August 30, 2017

      David that is the Post of the morning-day-week-month … this year.

      “Importing tradies”
      Family member has to advertise in Europe for workers of basic skills in his business.
      How many if any children, know how to hammer a nail in correctly these days.
      Think JK 😉
      Is wood work not on the menu in the schools.
      Are their IT devices the only thing they can handle with dexterity.
      SAD

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  August 30, 2017

      A degree is not of the same value that it once was seems a bit daft to devalue it further while importing tradies.

      I gave you an uptick for your comment, David. But I just found myself thinking about this a bit more. Does it really matter what a degree is in? A lawyer’s no use to me when I need a plumber or an electrician, or the broken power lines repaired in a storm or blizzard, or my car fixed urgently, or some local gang of ternage thugs policed off the streets. Or I want to see the results of some serious social research.

      What do you think qualifies some fields or occupations more worthy than to deserve the study or training for it to be worth a degree than others?

      Why can’t degrees just be judged on what they are for, and the level they’re at, (grad, post -grad) depending on what you need a degree-holder to do for you?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  August 30, 2017

        *apologies for some typos. Distracted. Have a raucous mallard in the backyard who needs seeing off because breakfast service is over & I have a “no pooping in the yard” policy!

        Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  August 30, 2017

        You’re right to some extent – a degree is confirmation that you can start and finish something with an element of expertise and competence. Many people do not follow up in professions related to their degree.
        However, allowing young people to remain out of the workforce for 4 years at taxpayers expense when there are industries begging for workers to take up trades is not great policy to me.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  August 30, 2017

          you comfortable for them to spend 4 years out of the workforce racking up a large student loan though?

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  August 30, 2017

          What’s your solution for why industries are begging for trades apprentices, & which party’s advocating it?

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  August 30, 2017

            National did away with apprenticeship training schemes.They are as always reactive not pro active.Not sure too many academically inclined will abandon their goals to pursue trades.

            Reply

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