INDEPENDENT NEWS

Brash Leap Backwards

Published: Wed 29 Oct 2003 11:03 AM
Brash Leap Backwards
It is no surprise to OPSA that Labour’s gradual rightwards drift – allowing tertiary fees to increase - has forced the National Party to also shift right in an attempt to regain votes.
If National intends to become the new right crusaders they could not have picked a better leader. Don Brash is an eighties user-pays and privatisation apologist who, as a Reserve Bank governor, closed down many businesses and destroyed thousands of jobs with vicious interest rate hikes, and advocates New Zealand going further down the user-pays privatisation path.
The Act Party will be equally happy about Brash’s win (or at least perhaps until they realise Don Brash will be ‘stealing’ their votes). ACT will be glad of a strong supporter for Richard Prebble's unfinished business of selling public assets, and making public services, like health, education, and welfare, user-pays.
Earlier this year Dr. Brash told the Orewa Rotary Club ‘…we must be willing to acknowledge that most of the policy changes wrought between 1984 and 1999, first by a Labour Government and then by a National Government, were steps in the right direction. We will get nowhere as long as we pretend that those policy changes were mistaken.’
“One mistake of these experimental policies was the introduction of user-pays education, this has been a total failure.” Said OPSA President, Ms Watt.
“We now have a generation with 21 years of student debt, an international brain drain of our best and brightest, increasing graduate mortgage refusals, parental financial responsibility until age 25, many young people not reaching their full potential, and worst of all a barrier to those in society who most need tertiary education.” said Ms Watt.
A study in the late nineties clearly demonstrated the gap between children from low socio-economic decile schools who continue on to tertiary education has plummeted compared to those from high decile schools, since the introduction of user-pays education.
“Brash and National are mistaken if they think New Zealand wants to step backwards to these eighty’s economic policies.” concluded Ms Watt.

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