The next fees-free failure is unfolding as Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) documents released on Thursday show the polytechnic reforms are likely to fail with extreme impact, National Party Spokesperson for Tertiary Education Dr Shane Reti says.

“TEC’s risk analysis of the Government’s review into vocational education describes the review’s potential impact as ranging from extreme to major. Workforce disruption, decrease in student numbers, unmet needs of industry and unmet needs of the regions are determined to be ‘almost certain’. The final nail in the coffin is that the model will most likely not even meet its own goals.

“I have never seen such a negative risk analysis from officials, it is baffling that the Minister has gone ahead with the reforms based on this advice. Establishing a single mega polytechnic despite 80 per cent of public submissions being against this, is unconscionable.

“This is another fees-free disaster in the making within the same portfolio with the same Minister at the helm, and billions of tax payer dollars at risk.

“National knows how important polytechs are to regional New Zealand, and appreciates changes need to be made to ensure we have a world class system. This lazy centralised approach is not the answer.

“National will return polytechnic assets and decision making back to communities and return apprentices to industry.

“This is too much and too fast. The Minister needs to go back to the drawing board at least until Treasury signs off that the desired outcomes will be met.

“Treasury wouldn’t back this and so neither should Chris Hipkins.”

The following is a table from Treasury’s Programme Business Case for the Review of Vocational Education.





Workforce disruption

Almost certain


Participation in vocational education drops

Almost certain


Needs of industry and employers not met

Almost certain


Needs of regions are not met

Almost certain


New model does not achieve desired outcomes




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