Monday, February 01, 2016

A good start

Labour leader Andrew Little gave his state of the nation speech in Auckland yesterday, and announced a policy of three free years of tertiary education. It will be introduced gradually, with full implementation delayed until 2025, but the net result will be to let people get their first qualification - a degree, apprenticeship or training - or retrain mid-career, without being saddled with a lifetime of debt.

Its a great idea, its affordable, it will be a huge benefit to people. But its worth remembering that Labour is offering us less than we once had. Before Phil Goff's tenure as Minister of Education, tertiary study was free. Goff stole that from us, so he and his boomer mates (all of whom had enjoyed free tertiary education) could get themselves tax cuts and avoid paying to support the society that had supported them. So, pretty obviously, I want more. And I want it sooner, and I want it coupled with student loan forgiveness, so those punished by Goff's (and later National's) shifting of the costs of tertiary education onto individuals will no longer be saddled with the burden of that terrible policy mistake. But this is a good start, and another welcome shift away from NeoLiberalism by Labour.