Labour leader Andrew Little has slammed the National government over the increasing cost of tertiary education.
Citing recently released Consumer Price Index data, Little said tertiary education has been put out of the reach of many, and is locking families into generations of poverty.
For the last seven years, education costs have risen faster than overall inflation, said Tertiary Education Union (TEU) national president Sandra Grey.
The TEU has repeatedly warned the government that there was disconnect between the funding of tertiary education and the actual cost.
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The government has defended themselves against these claims, saying the increased number of graduates proves the cost of tertiary education is not placing study out of reach.
A spokesperson for Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Education Steven Joyce, said that since 2008 there has been a 20 per cent increase of students graduating from tertiary institutes around the country.
“Taxpayers pay on average about 70 per cent of the cost of tuition, student fees pay the other 30 per cent,” the spokesperson said.
“On average students are paying off these loans through their wages in about six years if they remain in the country following graduation.”
Mr Little said Labour intended to provide three years free post-school study or training for every New Zealander if it forms the next government.