“Consultation about whether to stop international students at primary schools and intermediates could have devastating effects,” says ACT’s Education spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“The Ministry of Education has released a discussion document to primary and intermediate schools about the future of hosting international students.

“As a former teacher I know the value these students can bring, not just economically, but socially. They broaden the horizons of our Kiwi students and become lifelong ambassadors for New Zealand.

“But the financial contribution also can’t be ignored. Some schools rely on this income for specialist programmes. One principal has told ACT it funds the school’s Te Reo classes, other schools use the funds for teacher aides.

“If students can’t go to public schools, they will either go private or not come at all and that would be a huge loss for New Zealand.

“The rest of the world is moving on from COVID. Countries like Australia and Canada have plans in place to welcome students from overseas. New Zealand risks getting left behind.

“I urge COVID Response and Education Minister Chris Hipkins not to shut down yet another industry. It would be devastating for our schools socially and economically.” 

A link to the consultation document can be found here.