Students applaud the Labour Party on its tertiary education policy: it’s in the right direction

18 August 2014
Students welcome the Labour Party’s announcement today that they are committed to undertake a full review of student support, restore students’ voices in influencing their own educational experience, develop a more collaborative approach in the sector and pledge a much needed improvement in funding rates, says Daniel Haines, New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) President.

“Under the National-led Government there have been over twenty cuts to student support, and we accept it isn’t good enough to simply commit to repealing all of these changes.  The student support framework in New Zealand is broken and needs a radical rethink. We support Labour’s commitment to immediately reinstate postgraduate allowances, but creating a sustainable future will need a more holistic approach,” says Haines.  

“The support for this across the political spectrum gives us confidence that this will take place.”

“The announcement is strongest in its commitment to ensure that students have a say over what, how and why they learn. Labour recognises the value of the student voice within tertiary education and will stop the legislative proposal which seeks to remove the guaranteed right for staff and students to sit on university and wānanga councils. They will extend this to restore the right of students, staff, Māori and communities to sit on the councils of Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) which was removed in 2010.”

“Labour also understands that for the student voice to be effective it needs to be resourced and supported. By committing to repeal changes introduced by the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Act 2011, Labour will help create an enduring solution where students can influence the quality of their own education. Students have a special role in the delivery of welfare, pastoral and advocacy services to students. The best people to understand student issues are students, and Labour recognise that Steven Joyce’s compulsory student services fee (CSSF) regime is a system of taxation without representation – and that it’s failing students.”

“Weaker is their position on fees. While requiring tertiary providers to provide a written justification for fee increases above two percent will send a clear message to institutions that the four percent cap is a ceiling and not the baseline it has been. However, those fees need to come down, as Labour’s potential coalition partners, and even Peter Dunne, recognise. Student debt exceeds $13.7 billion through borrowing money for tuition fees as well as and living expenses, a sustainable tertiary education system needs to address both causes of debt.”

The voice of New Zealand's 400,000 students.

The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations exists to advance the political, social and economic interests of tertiary students whatever they study and wherever they live. NZUSA is a membership body of local students' associatons. We believe in opportunity for all.

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