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August 29, 2014

Making tertiary education more accessible to Māori

The Māori Party launched its tertiary education policy today at Te Huinga Tauira o Te Mana Ākonga, the national hui for the Māori Teritary Students Association in Palmerston North.

Te Tai Hauāuru candidate Chris McKenzie says the Party’s focus is on encouraging more Māori to participate in tertiary education and lifting their expectations in the level of study they pursue.

“One of the initiatives we strongly support is the “First in Whānau” scholarship proposal which was designed and costed by the New Zealand University Students Association. It’s a fee free scholarship for the first person in a whānau to pursue a Bachelor level qualification. We know this can be a circuit breaker. Having one whānau member study at that level encourages others to do the same,” says Mr McKenzie.

The Party also wants to see the cap on level one to four programmes in Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs) lifted to allow more foundation and trade training level programmes to be established.

“We’ve recently announced our ongoing commitment to the highly successful Māori and Pasifika Trade Training programmes. We want to double the placement numbers from 3000 to 6000. There’s clearly a big market for skilled tradespeople and apprentices,” says Mr McKenzie.

Mr McKenzie says trade training graduates are progressing on to jobs, apprenticeships or higher studies. “These are all great outcomes – having a higher education means a better living for graduates and their whānau.”

The Māori Party wants to ensure all students have better financial support during their tertiary studies. It supports a universal student allowance. It also wants to re-instate student allowances for post-graduate students that were scrapped in 2012.

“The student allowance is less than the unemployment benefit so we need to look at providing universal allowances to all full-time tertiary students as an investment in our future”, says Mr McKenzie.

“We’re also pleased to see that the Green Party are promoting part of our policy for free public transport to tertiary students, announced at our 10th birthday celebrations earlier this year. We think students should have round-the-clock rather than just off-peak free public transport. We’re happy to work with all the parties to progress this.”

This year Te Huinga Tauira o Te Mana Ākonga is being run by Manawatahi, Massey University’s Māori Student Association and hosted at Ratana Pā with events in Palmerston North.

“We’ll continue to support Māori student hui and any moves to have Māori students represented at all levels of the sector. There is still much more to be done to ensure Māori students have a strong voice and I plan to repeal the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill because it undermines the student voice,” says Mr McKenzie.

View Tertiary Education Policy

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