It is, in the end, the middle classes who are most likely to take up tertiary education in its various forms, just as they have gained from the costly interest-free student loans.
While the policy is to cover post-school education, including apprenticeships, it is not the poor and disadvantaged who will be the primary beneficiaries.
Former prime minister Helen Clark basically bribed the electorate with its own money on the student loans and family support payments.
Now comes another transfer to help, largely, the relatively well off.
It is taking $1.2 billion a year from all New Zealanders and giving it to the people who will be the highest earning in society.
There must also be doubts about the price tag being limited to $1.2billion.
For a start, it is clear extra spending on free fees will have to be matched by extra institutional funding for increased demand.
And the extra demand will be way way more than 15%.
It is also true the current system of part-payment – the Government still pays the majority share of most courses – focuses the mind.
Not only are students likely to give more consideration to the value of their courses to them, but it also means more accountability from teachers.
Students paying for studies have proved much less likely to put up with second-rate teaching or second-rate programmes.
You don’t value things as much when they are “free”. This policy will see a significant decline in quality.