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April 4, 2011 | by  | in News |
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Tertiary Education off the Bench

Representatives from the National, Labour, Green and ACT parties met last week to discuss tertiary education.

Labour MP David Shearer, National MP Katrina Shanks, ACT MP Heather Roy and the Green Party’s Keith Locke appeared on last week’s episode of Back Benches, a weekly political interview show.

At the suggestion that the Government has not increased tertiary education funding, Shanks commented that they had invested “another $56 million in universities since 2008”.
Shearer noted that there were 9,000 students in 2010 who were not accepted into tertiary education.

“So we do have a cap on education, and not everybody’s going to be able to get in.”

Locke said that “if people want to go to university, they shouldn’t be stopped by financial reasons”.

New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations co-president David Do said it was important the government “invested properly” in tertiary education.
“The government talks a lot about catching up with Australia, but when it comes to tertiary funding, we’re falling behind,” said Do.
“Students are looking to the government to address underfunding and student debt.”

Salient co-editor Elle Hunt, described successive governments’ approaches to tertiary education funding as “misguided at best” in the show’s ‘Soapbox’ segment.
“The Government needs to recognise students as an investment, and not a cost.”

Roy described university education as “hugely important for some students” but said “others should be channelled to more vocational education”.
“It’s important that students are matched where they can best gain the opportunities for their future, and that’s not necessarily university.”
Roy also spoke about Voluntary Student Membership in her 30-second ‘I’ve been thinking’ slot, receiving a mixed reception.

“One thing that’s been not fair in the current set-up is the fact that students are compelled to pay a fee to a student association before they’re able to study… that is definitely not fair.”

Back Benches is filmed at the Backbencher pub, and aired on TVNZ 7 on Wednesdays at 9.05pm.

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