Labour has fired its biggest weapon of the campaign so far with a promise to deliver the first year of three years free post-secondary education a year earlier in 2018 and boost student allowances by $50 per week as part of a big jump in education spending.
Leader Jacinda Ardern released the policy on Tuesday as finance spokesman Grant Robertson updated the party’s fiscal plan that included the extra spending.
The move sees extra education spending jump from $417m this year under Labour’s original plan to $781m and from $1.5b to $2b by 2022 as the fee free promise is fast-tracked.
That policy, unveiled by former leader Andrew Little in his “state of the nation” speech in early 2016, promised three years free education for tertiary students and other “post-school” education.
Labour want to keep taxes higher on all New Zealanders, so that they may give massive dollops of cash to the most well off in society. It is the anti-Robin Hood.
Those who gain a degree earn $1.6 million more on average over their lifetime than those who do not. That is a huge personal benefit which is why we say that they should contribute something towards the cost of that degree. Not a huge amount – usually $20,000 or so. A great investment for a $1.6 million return.
Labour’s frontbench is dominated by former student politicians who think students should pay zero towards their education. They think a truck driver should pay more in taxes so the lawyer has no student debt.
A small business truck driver owns his own truck. He needs to borrow money to fund that truck to set him or herself up in business. But Labour are saying doctors, lawyers and accountants should have taxpayers provide 100% of the costs of their education.
It’s an awful awful policy.
Not only is it a huge transfer of wealth to the richest in society, it will lead to a massive increase in worthless courses. If someone else is paying, people don’t care as much about the quality. You will again see people signed up for courses in hamburger joints, so that tertiary providers can get more of the “free” money Labour is promising.
Thios policy will cost $1.2 billion a year. Imagine what you could do with that money if you spent it in areas of real need, rather than bribing students who are going to become very wealthy.