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This Government will be remembered as the Government that dumbed down our university sector in its Botched Budget, National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“The Government has cancelled multiple successful, innovative university programmes including entrepreneurial universities, ICT graduate schools and international doctoral research fellowships.

“These programmes brought high calibre professors, their teams and ideas to New Zealand. This has been a very successful and is well-liked by universities. But funding has been ‘reprioritised to other priority areas in the Budget that will improve wellbeing for New Zealanders’.

“In other words, the Government can find money to spend on painting the Beehive and putting more bureaucrats in Treasury, but it can’t fund successful university programmes.

“ICT graduate schools based in Auckland, Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch are devastated to find out next year will be their last. These schools were created in 2014 by the previous National Government who recognised the huge export impact of ICT.

“National knew these schools would accelerate the growth of New Zealand’s ICT talent.

“The graduate schools have high employment outcomes and strong relationships with industry, all of which will be broken by a Government that does not understand business.

“The New Zealand ICT industry is making a name for itself on the world stage and is growing rapidly. We need people with a high level of ICT skills and knowledge in New Zealand so they can drive innovation in this sector and build a more productive and internationally competitive economy.

“A strong economy is the best way to improve the living standards of Kiwis, but it doesn’t look like the Government knows this. A National Government will support the ICT industry with training opportunities and will lift the quality of teaching and international rankings for New Zealand universities.”

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