Education (Tertiary)

Alliance Party Education Policy (Tertiary)


  • Before 1990, New Zealand’s public tertiary education system was practically free, and 90% of students received an allowance. Labour introduced a flat $1250 fee in 1990 and fees have risen ever since.

  • New Zealanders have borrowed well over $9 billion under the Student Loan Scheme since it was introduced by the National Government in 1992.

  • More tertiary qualified New Zealanders than any other nationality have chosen to migrate. Many of these have left to earn big salaries to help pay off their student loans.

  • Young people from low-income families, Maori and Pacifica are under represented in tertiary education.

  • Students who do not receive an allowance during the year and who cannot find work over summer do not qualify for an Emergency Unemployment Benefit. Many students work long hours during term time, which impacts on their studies and participation in student life.

  • Whatever system of tertiary education we have, somebody has to pay for it. Since 1989 successive governments have shifted more of this cost onto students, while higher earners benefited from tax cuts.

  • Education is not an optional extra to be put to one side until “economic growth” allows. It is a commitment to social justice, open and free access to knowledge, and genuine democracy.

We stand for the following policies:

  • Removal of tuition fees.

  • Abolition of the Student Loans Scheme and the immediate writing off of all loans.

  • A living allowance for all students at the level of the Unemployment Benefit.

  • Increased funding for public tertiary institutions, especially regional polytechnics, and provide adequate funding for libraries.

  • Cutting funding to private, profit-making tertiary providers.

  • Prioritising New Zealand public tertiary institutions over multinational education providers.

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