Well, thank goodness the fees free policy is halfway to the trash can. That was a ridiculous idea that few of us will miss.
Labour’s just announced its education policy today and they’ve chosen not to extend the free tertiary education beyond one year.
And that’s a big admission of failure on their part. Because if you think back to last election, Labour’s promise was first year free in their first term, second year free in their second term – and that’s not there.
Now, the official reason is the pandemic, because money is tight and this is too expensive.
And that is obviously just an excuse because Labour has up to now been spending on everything from $10m AJ Hackett to a $45m East Coast port idea even locals rejected. So they’re hardly cutting expenses for the pandemic.
The truth is, they’re scrapping because it was a failure. It didn’t encourage kids to go to university, it just paid the fees for kids who were going to pay them anyway.
It was literally just a hand out to students – AKA traditional Labour voters. It was supposed to draw in 80,000 students but in the end even 50,000 was an ambition.
Universities hated it because it didn’t address the actual problem, which is the fact that they’re underfunded.
Basically, this u-turn is basically an admission that Labour was wrong to roll this policy out.
But now, we’re stuck with having wasted close to a billion dollars in three years, and the prospect that that will continue as long as we keep funding the first year of tertiary education.
I don’t want to sound unhappy about this, I’m stoked about it. I’m stoked that Labour has abandoned a stupid idea that we’ve been telling them is stupid for three years.
And I’ll be even more stoked when they abandon this thing altogether and cancel paying for student’s first year.
They’re halfway to the trash can. I’m looking forward to them going all the way one day.