National is exploring options to replace first year Fees Free, supporting a university into the Top 50 international rankings, and we’re looking to invest in a third medical school in our Education Discussion Document, National’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“First year Fees Free has been an expensive failure. It’s failed to increase tertiary participation, in fact there are fewer learners now than before. We are asking for feedback on a range of options including possibly replacing first year Fees Free.

“National has been very clear about the Government’s reform of tertiary education – we oppose it. A National Government will return polytechnic assets back to polytechnics where they are still available, and return decision making back to regional polytechnics.

“We know the regions and local industry are best placed to teach their students.

“National is also looking to improve the international rankings of our universities. If we had a university in the top 50 university rankings, we would attract more overseas talent, lift academic excellence and improve productivity.

“By lifting the international rankings of our universities, we lift the overall quality of tertiary education in New Zealand.

“There is a huge demand for GPs in rural areas around New Zealand. We have listened to rural communities and National will explore a third medical school focused on retaining GPs in rural communities.

“This is something the previous National Government committed too and was cancelled by the current Government. National backs rural communities, they shouldn’t be missing out on vital medical care. If we have the privilege to Govern in 2020, we will address the 200 GPs per year experts tell us are needed, especially in rural communities.

“Our discussion document contains a raft of proposals we want New Zealanders to give feedback on, but one thing is for certain, tertiary education under National will be targeted and evidence based with clear objectives.”

You can view the discussion document here

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