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The Government’s tertiary reforms will gut New Zealand’s regional education, National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“The Government has today passed its Reform of Vocational Education, a Bill that will strip power and assets from regional polytechnics.

“National has vigorously opposed this Bill. It will see all regional polytechnics centralised into one megapolytechnic and will move apprentices from industry to polytechnics. For high performing polytechs, like the Southern Institute of Technology, this will be devastating.

“Despite Education Minister Chris Hipkins’ own officials telling him these reforms will fail, the Government has pushed on with its ideological changes.

“Regional polytechnics will now have their assets hoovered up by this Government and they will lose local decision making. At a time when we need more apprenticeships, these reforms will result in thousands fewer learners and thousands of job losses.

“Unlike the Government, National knows the regions and local industry are best placed to teach their students and understand their needs.

“National has been very clear about the Government’s reform of tertiary education – we don’t support it. We have been fighting for regional New Zealand against these idealistic education reforms.

“This is not the solution for polytechnics, a National Government will return assets back to polytechnics where they are still available, return decision making back to regional polytechnics and return industry training back to industry.”

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