Kate Hawkesby nails it: Hipkins is deadset useless

Chris Hipkins Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

You know something’s awry when universities are at odds with a Labour government.

Information released to the Herald under the Official Information Act regards the government’s free fees policy, has revealed tensions in the form of letters between Education Minister Chris Hipkins and the Chair of Universities NZ.

In a nutshell, universities claim the free fees policy will only create an added burden to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in administrative fees – not to mention potentially pushing students into studying courses they simply won’t or can’t pass.

In other words a poorly thought out policy with no regard for any unintended consequences. An easy bribe to get the student vote.

“It will create perverse incentives for students to seek entry into degree programmes for which they are not adequately prepared, and in which they are unlikely to succeed without special preparation,” Universities Chair Stuart McCutcheon wrote to the Minister.

Pretty much, not that it would have taken a rocket scientist to figure it out. What was the Minister of Education’s response?

Hipkins has hit back saying universities won’t be getting an extra cent, despite universities claiming the new system has increased their workload.

No soup for you!

[…]So what’s going on here? Well pretty much what the critics who were shouted down at the outset were saying. You couldn’t hear the critics at the time because every spotlight and microphone was pointing at Jacinda Ardern, beaming on university campuses throughout the country shouting into a megaphone, “next year’s on me!”. (Words that sent a chill down the spines of all of us who actually had to pay our way through university.)

If it’s free, then, one, you don’t value it, and two, you don’t discern.

As the old saying goes, what is gotten for free is often held in contempt.

When I went to university, I had to think long and hard about what course to enrol in, based on what I could afford with my student loan, and where it would take me. I couldn’t just pick up subjects for the hell of it. I also knew that the deal I’d struck with my parents regards subsidising my books and expenses was based around me passing.

Same when I was at uni. There was no way I could afford to slack around and take courses just for the fun of it.

[…]I’m just not sure what the point is of having a bunch of extra people sign up to courses they may never pass. What’s the measure on that going to be for Hipkins? More students got to study, but fewer passed? How is that beneficial?

It benefited Labour as they got extra votes. Now the chickens are starting to come home to roost. But instead of facing up to it Hipkins is telling the universities to get lost. As Minister of Education he should be talking (conversation anyone?) to them and working out a solution to the problem – a problem that the government created.

Couple this with the Charter Schools fiasco and you can really come to only one conclusion. As Minister of Education Hipkins is deadset useless.

– Kate Hawkesby, NZ Herald


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Libertarian and pragmatic anarchist. Treat everything the media says as a lie and know the narrative. Facts trump rhetoric.

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