The Labour leader Andrew Little used his first speech of 2017 to promise three years of free post-school tertiary education and training.
Speaking alongside the Greens’ co-leader Metiria Turei at a joint event in Auckland on Saturday, Little touched only briefly on tertiary education in a speech that focused predominantly on housing, and health. Turei used her speech to focus on inspirational women.
Little’s speech committed to delivering a world-class education for all New Zealand children within a decade, including ensuring young people can “get the skills they need without crippling study debt.”
Labour’s free study commitment was first announced in February 2016, when Little said the policy could be used at any point in a person’s life, but would not be introduced until 2019.
The TEU welcomed the policy, saying it showed a commitment to investing in the country’s future. However, National President, Sandra Grey, said this was only a start of a long journey Labour and the Greens need to take to ensure all Kiwi’s have access to the education and training they need.
“The free study promise is a big ticket policy, which we welcome, but Labour’s vision for the future of tertiary education cannot stop there. Ahead of the election Labour and the Greens need to come forward with a clear plan for a public tertiary education sector that prioritises education, not profit and is accessible and affordable for all communities in every region of New Zealand.”
Prime Minister Bill English delivered National’s State of the Nation on Thursday. The speech focused on the economy, welfare and crime.