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Mike's Minute: Change is coming and the repair work has begun

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 30 Nov 2023, 9:56AM

Mike's Minute: Change is coming and the repair work has begun

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Thu, 30 Nov 2023, 9:56AM

There is a lot to take in this week. There is a lot to do because a lot of change is coming.

But one of the starker moments was when we asked the university people how it was that we are not getting the number of offshore students the way they are in Australia?

As it turns out, Australia is up over 30%, so much so they are looking to put a cap on it.

Here, it's only a 15% increase. This was a $5 billion industry before our approach to Covid wrecked it.

Admission number one from the universities was that we were too slow to open. Those that did got the students.

Admission number two was when we did open the visa processing it was too slow. People apply in multiple countries and those who work fast, get the rewards.

Admission number three was about the Māorification of the system. There was some push back from the universities, with some suggesting this could have been a bonus. Fair enough, but also an admission that university education is global and Māori culture, unless you specifically want it, is not conducive to global qualifications.

So, in a series of fairly simple questions and answers, we got a frighteningly clear picture of what has happened.

And what has happened is we have blown it.

You can also toss in the downtown Auckland problem, where most of the accommodation is taken up by 501's and emergency housing, which means there is nowhere to live, and even if you do get a place, you'll have trouble in the neighbourhood.

Part of this week's lift in spirit about the place is a reaction to the realisation that this past six years for too many has been a mess, or if not a mess, a nightmare.

Education has been crushed by a combination of ideology and ineptitude.

Covid, and the way we ran it, has seemingly permanently changed the way the world sees us. It's not just university, my suspicion is it's in tourism as well and is why the bounce back has been nothing like the bounce back they have seen offshore.

Once again, it will be borders, visas, marketing and of course the now infamous entry to the country - Auckland Airport.

It is only once a Government goes that those like the universities lift their heads up, look for clear air and provide what turned out to be a damning and also astonishing account of just how bad it has been.

The trouble is the worse it is, the harder it is to fix.

But there is upside. So far the new lot look at least like they are determined to get the repair work started.

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