Sunday, February 25, 2024

Ele Ludemann: Fees-free failure

Philip Crump shows that Labour’s fees-free policy was an expensive failure:

“While questioning the Tertiary Education Commission in this week’s Parliament’s Education and Workforce Committee, I was told there is ‘no discernible evidence’ the previous Government’s fees-free scheme has improved participation from low socio-economic groups,” says ACT Tertiary Education and Skills spokesperson Dr Parmjeet Parmar.

“The Commission also confirmed that the scheme had no impact on overall tertiary education completion rates.

“In short, Labour’s programme has cost taxpayers more than $340 million a year for no real public benefit. That’s a colossal waste of money.

“Of course, there is a personal benefit for the students who take up the scheme. But university students in particular are more likely to end up on higher incomes, so the result is working New Zealanders pay tax for the benefit of the middle and upper class. . .”

Act wanted to scrap the scheme altogether. National policy was to make the third year fees-free rather than the first.

That’s an improvement but given the fragile state of the economy and the need to cut all but essential spending, I hope Act prevails.

The failed policy has already cost $2 billion that was desperately needed elsewhere. No more should be spent on this failed luxury when there there are so many necessities needing the money.

Ele Ludemann is a North Otago farmer and journalist, who blogs HERE - where this article was sourced.

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