The Government’s proposed reform of vocational education will strip power from regional New Zealand and hand all of it to Wellington bureaucrats, National’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment spokesperson Shane Reti says.  

“Businesses and the regions know what demand there is for skills in their own backyard. But this Government wants all of the decision making to be done by a centralised body in Wellington,” Dr Reti says.

“Industry Training Organisations, which represent businesses and their needs will be disestablished. These are the groups that know and understand the demand for the trades better than anyone else.

“We believe that there is a need to address issues of quality, sustainability and more skilled people in trades but the idea that all this can be solved in Wellington is naive. 

“The reforms are much bigger than we first anticipated and could lead to mass job losses, yet Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today he hasn’t done any work on that. It’s clear there are many unanswered questions.

“Given how much uncertainty there is, there should be a thorough consultation period. Instead, there will be just six week for industry to have its say. Mr Hipkins wants this in place next year which means rapid upheaval for the sector.

“The discussion document was strangely silent about the future of Private Training Establishments and Wānanga. These institutions deserve certainty about their futures.

“I encourage Mr Hipkins to put his ideology aside and extend the consultation period so the people who understand their own industries and communities can be involved in the process.”

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