The National Party is making some new promises about Southland’s tertiary education sector, in response to the government’s Reform of Vocational Education.
Deputy party leader Nikki Kaye was in Invercargill today for the opening of new candidate Penny Simmond’s official office, and had some strong words to say about the reform.
Under a new National government, she said in the first 100 days they would return the Southern Institute of Technology’s assets to Southland control, undoing the current government restructuring of the sector,
“This incompetent government’s tertiary reforms will gut New Zealand’s regional education,” Ms Kaye said.
“The reforms were already putting polytechnic jobs under threat and now with the Government refusing to work on reopening international education, more will be on the line.”
A National government would unwind those reforms within its first 100 days, she said.
“We should be focused on supporting New Zealanders who are retraining and ensuring there are jobs available to them, not making things worse.
Tertiary education spokesman Dr Shane Reti said while there needed to be some reconfiguring of the polytechnic sector, “high performing polytechnics like SIT should be left to do what they have been doing well.”
He said the government’s reforms were only going to make it harder to deliver trades and apprenticeships.
“National is the only party who will save regional polytechnics and make sure they keep their assets and autonomy.
“New Zealand is facing an economic crisis like no other ever seen, National would be focused on protecting and creating jobs and supporting Kiwis who are re-training into new industries,” Dr Reti said.