The Right is all about short-term thinking. That’s why National has never understood the value of education. The First National Government, when faced with budget troubles responded by cutting the education budget and raising the school age to 6.
This latest National Government is attacking education at the other end. Fees are going up and now we learn they’re going to introduce a graduate fee. In an age where we know we need a more highly educated, more skilled workforce, this government is determined to make getting skills more expensive, more difficult.
You might say that $50 a year is a small thing. But it’s another discouragement for a young person who is looking at either going straight into low-skill, low-pay work or borrowing thousands to get some skills. The last thing we need to be doing is discouraging more people from going on to polytech or uni.
It will be the people at the margins, Maori and the poor, who are turned off getting further education by added costs like this. Another reason for the Maori Party to vote against the upcoming budget.
And if $50 is a relatively small thing for an individual, $15 million a year is a pittance to a $60 billion a year government.
This graduate fee is interest by another name. It shows that this is a visionless short-sighted government that can find hundreds of millions to shower on its rich mates but not a few million to help ensure that New Zealand has the skilled and educated people that it needs for a brighter future.