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October 2, 2011 | by  | in Features |
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Mana Party

John Minto of the Mana Party asserted very strongly that Universal Student Membership was integral to the good of society and also that it was an essential element of representation in New Zealand.

He linked the VSM Bill to a raft of “neo-liberal policies” which had been reducing representation in New Zealand for years, stating that in terms of representation Aotearoa had been “moving backwards since the 1980s”. Minto was vocally proud of both Mana’s and the Unite Union’s support of the We Are The University protests on 26 September, stating that Mana is “very much on the side of the students”.

In his Draft Education Policy, Minto stated that he would like to shift the focus of tertiary education from attempting to create a knowledge society to a critical and creative society. He elaborated that Mana was committed to focusing tertiary education on bettering the individual to the point where they were not simply tailored for one job, but instead educated to be a better citizen who would be capable of filling many roles in society. He used the example of the “fitter and joiner” as someone who used to be equipped with the skills to work in many industries, as opposed to what he sees as the modern reality of students coming out of their degree or qualification and entering one particular role at the minimum wage rate, an effect exaggerated by their student debt.

Mana is proposing to cut Government funding to Private Training Establishments while funding Maori Private Tertiary Education providers under the treaty responsibilities of the Crown. Minto defines the Mana Party policy as an effort towards clearing up a mess that he sees as being created by previous Governments.

“After National’s complete failure in providing any proper tertiary education policy, Labour then said ‘we are going to put Maori and private providers together and we’re just going to fund them on a bums on seats basis’.”

Minto got quite heated at this point, saying that this funding “was just money that was bled out of the public system.” He summed up the issue of PTEs by drawing a clear distinction between Maori Tertiary providers and PTEs: “I think what we have to do is separate out Maori institutions from PTEs. And in fact Maori providers in general are not-for-profit organisations, they are there to genuinely provide opportunities to Maori that haven’t been there in the past and they need to be supported and encouraged.”

Mana aims to reduce and eventually abolish student fees while also retaining interest-free student loans. Minto asserted that under Mana’s educational policy “the funding would come from the government on a pay-as-you-go basis.” He elaborated on the issue of paying the bill for this saying “there are three ways we would pay for that: introduce a comprehensive capital gains… secondly, the introduction of a financial transactions tax used to compensate for the 15 billion dollars lost in GST” and “Thirdly, a progressive taxation system which means that those on high incomes pay a hell of a lot more than they pay at the moment.” He justified the removal of student fees and the continuation of interest free loans by asserting that there would be “an increase in government income but it wouldn’t come from lower income earners”, And that with the rise in national wealth the country could “easily pay for students”.

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  1. thejackel says:

    I love it how clearly Minto manages to come across as an idiot.

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