INDEPENDENT NEWS

Where's the tertiary legislation Max?

Published: Fri 25 Jun 1999 01:12 PM
The National Party's tertiary education policy has collapsed, Labour associate education spokesperson Steve Maharey told a Conference of Polytechnic Student Associations in Christchurch today.
Mr Maharey said that only months before a general election, National was unable to deliver legislation based on the Tertiary Education White Paper and the white papers on teacher education and qualifications had yet to be released.
"The whole review of tertiary education has descended to the level of farce. Legislation has been promised since April. No one has seen a thing. All we hear is that the problems are mounting," Steve Maharey said.
"Even if legislation appeared tomorrow, the Government will not be able to pass it through the House unless they take urgency and ram it through. I do not think the sector would stand for that. It appears that the Government's plans for radical reform have collapsed.
"At one level I am very happy. The ideas they were advancing would have done to tertiary education what has already been done to health. A commercial tertiary education system would have done nothing for the country.
"At the other level I am appalled. These reforms have been discussed since the last election. Nothing has been delivered. It is clear that National has simply run out of ideas and drive in one of the most crucial areas of policy.
"Meanwhile the problems of funding cuts and lack of vision continue to cause problems. The sector is rudderless at a time when tertiary education should be helping create a knowledge economy and a knowledge society.
"It now looks like National will go into the election with nothing more than its appalling record on tertiary education to put before the voters.
"I do not think high costs to students, reduced funding to institutions and a policy shambles will be popular," Steve Maharey said.

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