Govt should privatise vocational education

Wed, 13 Feb, 2019

The Government should see the failure of the polytechnics to compete with the private sector as an opportunity to privatise them, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

"Chris Hipkins’ suggestion that the polytechnic sector will be saved by a more centralised bureaucracy sounds like the start of a bad joke, but unfortunately it is very serious folly.

"We already have a mixed sector where private training establishments compete with polytechnics. The difference is that the government sector lurches from one crisis to another, being periodically bailed out by the taxpayer, while the private sector stands on its own two feet.

"Let's put it another way. If anyone suggested that the Government, having failed as the owner of polytechnics, should take over the private sector, you’d think they were nuts. By the same logic, why should the Government continue to own the polytechnics in any form?

"Students and taxpayers alike would be better off if the Government completely privatised polytechnics and institutes of technology. Private owners would have a much better incentive to make them effective and profitable than the even larger and more remote bureaucracy Chris Hipkins is proposing.

"The National Party has warned about job losses in the regions. Well, if polytechnics and institutes of technology are losing money and having to be bailed out, there should be job losses. It appears the Nats have forgotten the purpose of an educational institute is not to employ staff but to educate students."