web analytics

Tertiary education – a “public good”

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, August 5th, 2014 - 14 comments
Categories: election 2014, greens, internet party, labour, mana, Metiria Turei, russel norman, tertiary education - Tags:

The Green Party is launching their “Election Priority for Students” at Auckland University today from 2-3 pm in the Auckland University Quad.  Russel Norman and Metiria Turei will be presenting it together, indicating it will  most likely have a financial ficus, and considerations of individual, social and community well being.

Green Party election priority student 2014

The Greens have had strong tertiary education and support for students policies for a long time.  They describe education as a “public good and an economic investment”.  That means education is an investment for the future of the community and society, and not something to be bought by and sold to the individuals doing courses.

Key points in their policies:

Working towards a debt free, no fees, system where everyone will be able to access a universal student living allowance, and where tertiary education is available to all Kiwis.

As they work towards this they will:

Progressively reduce fees, reduce barriers to doing courses (e.g. by providing child care for those who need it) introduce a debt write off scheme.

Other opposition parties have some similar policies:

Mana Party:

Abolish all fees for tertiary students of all ages, and provide students with a living allowance (or Universal Basic Income) while studying.

Develop a plan to write off student debt. In the meantime, there should be no further interest on student loans.

Provide students with community-based jobs to help them complete their courses and reduce their debt.

Internet Party:  They have made free tertiary education and student loans a priority.

Labour Party: So far they have focused on school education and have a very comprehensive policy on it. They will also ensure all under 20 year olds are “in work, education or training”.

The Greens also have a strong focus on early childhood and school  education, placing them firmly within community networks. I will be interested to see the aspects of student support that the Greens will prioritise this election.

democracy and education



Today at Auckland University, Russel Norman and Metiria Turei announced a smart green policy – affordable, sustainable, and it will ease the financial burden on students – a Green Card for off peak travel on public transport:

  1. All tertiary students and apprentices will get free off-peak travel on buses, trains, and ferries with a Student Green Card. All students attending universities, wānanga, polytechnics and Private Training Establishments, as well as those training through New Zealand Apprenticeships, will be eligible for the Green Card.

  2. This will benefit up to 325,000 tertiary students, as well as approximately 28,000 people training under the New Zealand Apprenticeship scheme.

  3. Off-peak travel will be free between the hours of 9am and 3pm, and from 6.30pm until the end of service on weekdays. It also covers all weekends and public holidays.

  4. The Student Green Card will cost between $20 million-30 million per year. The costings are based on an increase in trips of 30 percent in response to the free travel on the Green Card, and would cost the Crown between $1.70-$2.20 per passenger trip. This will be funded by re-prioritised spending from the National Land Transport Fund.



14 comments on “Tertiary education – a “public good””

  1. Chooky 1

    karol +100 Good Post !…interesting to have all the policies from the Left there… except Labour as yet

    imo young people and students and anyone interested in tertiary education will go for the strongest and best deal policy for them

    ….at the moment it looks like Mana and Internet have a free tertiary education policy …whereas Greens will work towards this ..(i hope the Greens don’t lose votes here)

    …and I dont know what Labour’s policy is on tertiary education…fees , interest , loans? etc ( although they have a good policy for Continuing education)

    My view is that tertiary education is of crucial important both for the country and the individual…. and FREE access for all New Zealanders, whatever their age, is very important! ( imo loans and interest should be written off)…Universities and other education in New Zealand should not DEPEND on the fees paid by overseas students!…(.which warps our education system imo)

    Tertiary Education is a Priority….the NACT Motorways should be scrapped…and savings put into Tertiary education.

    John Key’s NACT has let New Zealand education down badly and particularly University Education

    • karol 1.1

      Well, I think the Greens have a well worked out policy – working towards free and debt free education, plus universal allowances, and considering how to pay for it, etc. – and also having interim measures to reduce financial stress on students now.

      The IP and Mana have statements to do away with all that, but no plan how to do it.

      Any of the 3 party’s will be dependent on negotiations with Labour, should they replace the current government. So I doubt that IMP would get immediate free and debt free tertiary education. Greens seem to me to be being practical.

      The voters, of course, will make up their own minds. One thing’s for certain, there’ll be a lot of pressure on Labour to agree to free & debt free education from these other parties.

  2. blue leopard 2

    Thanks for the summary, Karol – it is very helpful to see a quick comparison of the different partys’ policies (and encourages me to go and look at the details!)

    This issue over tertiary education is one that really gets my goat. The least that those who push the idea that ‘we all have a choice’ could do is not remove opportunities. This appears to have been too difficult a concept for National to grasp and they have been busily dissolving any ‘opportunities’ of social mobility we had left.

    It appears to me that only some people can afford to get higher education these days. Student welfare has clearly been formulated by those who are so blinded by privilege they can’t see how unlikely and unviable it is for people without such privilege to choose to take on massive loans and the paultry-less-than-the-dole rate of the allowance – if you can get it – is an absolute killer too. The work load per paper/course has increased and so has the number of papers required to qualify for ‘full-time’ study (this makes it harder to pass and more likely that one won’t qualify for assistance in the next year, not to mention what it does to stress levels).

    Those who believe the idea that ‘people have a choice’ are completely disengaged in more ways than one. Any choice is becoming a receding memory, thanks to people who enjoyed lots of positive opportunities (due to their enlightened older generations working to ensure that was the case) and who now are choosing to rip such opportunities away from those who follow them.

    I wait with baited breathe for the Green’s policy release…

    • karol 2.1

      It looks to me like it won’t be a new policy, but a statement of a priority for them in post election negotiation – maybe some practical thing they will do as a priority part of their policies.

  3. karol 3

    Damn! Today’s announcement (off a student & apprentices Green Card for free travel on off peak public transport) is a very smart, affordable and sustainable policy on so many levels!

    They cite the success of something similar in Palmerston north:

    “Research from 2011 found 67 percent of students were spending money on public transport, with an average spend of $35.40 per week. In Auckland, tertiary students were spending an average of $40.50 per week.

    “Students are facing rising living cost pressures; transport, food, power, rent, but often have very restricted income. The Student Green Card is a way of helping to reduce costs to help students make ends meet.

    “A Student Green Card will encourage smarter transport use and ease congestion for all travellers. It will help to shift cars off our roads, while making lower income students more mobile.

    “This is an idea that works. The Palmerston North free bus scheme, which has been in place since 2004, has resulted in a 38 percent rise in student patronage of buses, and car journeys have dropped by more than half since it started.

    “By increasing student patronage on our public transport network, we can cost-effectively provide improved services for everyone. As more people take the bus or train throughout the day, we can increase the number of services, which in turn will make public transport a convenient option for even more people.

    “The Student Green Card will also help the environment. A well utilised public transport system is a vastly more efficient way to get around, and one that improves air quality and reduces carbon emissions,” Dr Norman said.

    • Chooky 3.1

      Latest from Morning Report ( Nact’s Mouthpiece):

      Suzi Ferguson used John Key to dis the Greens policy …before Russel Norman had even opened his mouth!

      (policy of a Green card enabling poor university students and other tertiary students and apprentices to access public transport for free especially in off peak times)

      Russel Norman handled himself very well however and called her out …saying she had opened his interview with an “assault” by John Key!

      … Russel Norman also coolly countered Key’s arguments that it was too expensive to spend on students by pointing out the overseas debt that John Key has accrued for New Zealand ..and the wasted money on motorways

      Espiner followed up the attack on Green policy by inviting a business sector interviewee on an unrelated matter to comment on Green policy…of course it was in the negative.

      Morning Report should be overhauled after the Election..it is biased and a mouthpiece of John Key!

      However it does show how sensitive John Key is to the Greens and the issue of university students and affordable education….so if the Left concentrates on this it will be a WINNER ! ( Helen Clark won an Election on the youth vote and the issue of better more affordable tertiary education)

      ( Nactional has neglected young New Zealanders shamelessly…In Holland , Germany, France, Scandinavia and many other countries tertiary education is relatively FREE, if not completely …In New Zealand many very bright students are deciding that they and their families can not afford it…which leaves New Zealand university education for the children of the wealthy…whose parents can afford it! eg Bill English and John Key)

      …Under Nactional there is a shocking waste of young New Zealanders talent !!!!..It is going to create a class system in New Zealand….where only the children of the wealthy can afford a tertiary education… “the chosen”. This betrays the egalitarian ideals and education system of our New Zealand ancestors both Pakeha and Maori

      • alwyn 3.1.1

        You really should get up a bit earlier in the morning Chooky.
        National didn’t get their opinion broadcast before “Russel Norman had even opened his mouth!”
        There was a full discourse of this by Norman just after 6.00 am. The National comment was made just before they repeated the whole Green spiel at 8.00 am.
        Actually it is quite normal for Morning Report to start with a Labour or Green rant against any National Party proposal before the National plan has been given for the first time. When it is a Labour or a Green proposal they only give a brief comment before a repeat of the whole proposal at incredible, admiring length.

        • Chooky

          i would say 8am is more of a peak listening time than 6am…so my criticism stands

          • alwyn

            To each his own, of course.
            I tend to listen from 0600 until about 0730. After that it is just repetition.
            Actually I would have thought it lost audience after about 0745 as people went off to work.
            Who knows though. You may be right.

            • Chooky

              well i work and am usually up by 7.30am…and dont forget many people listen to the radio on their way to work which can be anywhere between 7.00 and 8.00 or 9.00am

  4. RedBaronCV 4

    Liking it. At some level too I wouldn’t mind seeing our universities letting go of the international ratings chase and just strive to be excellent in what we teach and do. Tertiary education seems to be at some level degenerating into this awful international blandness with a high quota of “group speak” that must at some level be shutting out new, different or alternative ideas.

    • Chooky 4.1

      +100…yes in the past New Zealand universities have turned out some leaders in their fields without international ratings eg. Ernest Rutherford … and many, many more

  5. The green card is a great idea. Free off peak travel for students will be of great benefit to them.
    Free tertiary education won’t be back in NZ for quite some time, if ever, so focus on interest free loans and cashless benefits is sound policy.

    • Chooky 5.1

      werent John Key’s NACT’s sales of State Owned Assets supposed to go towards education?..they should be called to account on this

      .. New Zealand youth are the future of New Zealand…and they have been treated unfairly and harshly by John Key and Nactional….saddling them up with huge debt at a very young age( unless of course you have wealthy parents)…and selling off our university qualifications to overseas buyers and the children of the wealthy

      Free Tertiary Education and the cancelling of debt should be a priority of the Left parties imo

      Students need to get out and demonstrate on this issue and then vote for the Party that best represents their rights

Recent Comments

Recent Posts


  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    1 day ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    1 day ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    2 days ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    2 days ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    2 days ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    3 days ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    3 days ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    3 days ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    4 days ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    4 days ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    4 days ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    5 days ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    5 days ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    1 week ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    1 week ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    1 week ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    1 week ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    1 week ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    1 week ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    1 week ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    1 week ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    1 week ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    1 week ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori Party all hui no-doey on housing
    The Māori Party should stop tinkering and start fixing tragic Māori housing statistics in the face of a national housing crisis, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesman Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Labour committed to eliminating child poverty
    Labour accepts the challenge from Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft to cut child poverty and calls on the Prime Minister to do the same, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    3 weeks ago