New Zealand Labour Party

Education is for everyone, not just the elite

Proposals by the National Party to ration access to higher education will once again make it a privilege only available to the elite, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Speaking at the Education Select Committee, Maurice Williamson let the National Party mask slip and revealed their true agenda to ration access to education and further gut courses of study that aren’t directly linked to employment.

“What’s more alarming is the fact that Tertiary Education Minister Paul Goldsmith refused to rule out adopting such an approach.

“Once again the National Party fails to acknowledge the huge value the whole country gets from having a more highly educated population.

“Every year thousands of university graduates move into jobs that have little or no connection to their field of study. Arts and humanities graduates are in high demand and earn great salaries, even though they often work in fields that have nothing to do with their degrees.

“Narrowly linking funding for education to the courses that provide skills deemed to be ‘in-demand’ by employers is short-sighted and stupid.

“And proposing that only the highest achieving students should get the lion’s share of tuition subsidies will only serve to reinforce inequality and make tertiary education once again the domain of the already wealthy and privileged.

“This kind of lunacy is yet another reason for New Zealanders to vote for a change of government in September. Labour will champion the value of a quality, broad-based, publicly funded education system,” Chris Hipkins says.