INDEPENDENT NEWS

Young Nats miss the point on tertiary education

Published: Fri 27 Aug 1999 02:30 PM
Young Labour: Young Nats miss the point on tertiary education
Moana Mackey, Young Labour President, rubbished claims by National’s Youth Vice President Daniel Gordon that the tertiary loans scheme is “working well, ensuring access to education for all students.”
Citing figures released this week (showing a decline in enrolments at the University of Auckland by students from low decile South Auckland schools ), Moana Mackey commented that the Young Nationals appear to have completely missed the point behind Labour’s student loans policy.
“Labour’s policy to remove interest from loans while students are studying is about access and opportunity for all students. The idea that the all students should be denied assistance simply because such a policy would also marginally benefit a small number of very well off students is simply ridiculous.”
“If that logic was carried to its ultimate conclusion, one would see the end of all welfare benefits, no free emergency medical care, and fees charged for state schools,” Moana Mackey continued.
“Daniel Gordon’s claims that participation has increased markedly for Maori and Pacific Islands students are laughable. While it is perfectly true that participation rates have increased for these groups, this has to viewed in the context of the total student population. In fact, the proportion of such students in terms of the whole student body has declined.”
Mr. Gordon’s lack of understanding of National’s policies is best illustrated by his comment that ‘the education budget continues to increase dramatically each year.’ Moana Mackey pointed out that last year over $95m was removed from the tertiary sector due to the Asian economic crisis.
“Mrs. Shipley promised at that time that as the economy recovered, this funding would be restored. Yet in last week’s skilfully misnamed ‘Bright Future’ package, a mere $47m, over three years, was promised to the tertiary sector.”
“This is yet another example of the Prime Minister’s penchant to shoot her mouth off, while disregarding the facts of the matter at hand. It is sad,” Moana Mackey concluded, “that the Young Nationals are starting to mimic Jenny Shipley’s shameful example.”
ENDS

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