Defending Free Tertiary Education: Chris Trotter responds to Dr Oliver Hartwich’s defence to the user-pays university

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WHEN DR OLIVER HARTWICH departed his native Germany for the Anglo-Saxon lands it was in high dudgeon. In spite of the fact that German taxpayers had paid for his entire education – from primary school to university – there wasn’t much evidence of gratitude. Meeting the cost of young Germans’ education out of the public purse was, in the newly-minted economist’s opinion, a dangerous policy relic of Germany’s social-democratic past. The British and the Americans had long since dispensed with the notion of publicly-provided tertiary education. It was, therefore, to the English-speaking world that this eager young neoliberal foot-soldier took his publicly-funded doctorate.

New Zealand is, of course, very much a part of that world. Hartwich arrived here via England and Australia, where he was a major force at the Sydney-based Centre for Independent Studies (an extreme right-wing think tank). When the notorious Business Roundtable joined forces with the NZ Institute in 2012, Hartwich was the corporate bosses’ pick for Executive Director.

Moved to contribute an opinion piece to Interest.co.nz on Labour’s re-commitment to the principle of universal social entitlement in tertiary education, Hartwich has usefully rehearsed all the familiar neoliberal excuses for making young people pay for their education.

“The first thing I would say about free education is that it suffers from a basic flaw:” writes Hartwich, “If something does not cost anything, it is not valued much either.”

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This observation, Hartwich tells us, is born of his “personal reflections of free tertiary education”, and is not to be confused with rigorous policy analysis.

That being the case, let me respond in kind by declaring that my own experience of free tertiary education threw up not one case of a recipient who did not value their opportunity to explore the life of the mind in their late teens and early twenties. Quite the reverse, actually.

University was a magical place, insulated from the charges of the workaday world, and collectively dedicated to the expansion, communication and acquisition of knowledge. If a vocation was one’s sole purpose for attending, then those skills were available. But of infinitely greater value to students than a mere “meal ticket” was the access that university afforded to the signal achievements of their culture. Young people emerged from tertiary study as both engaged and enlarged human beings.

Hartwich deplores this aspect of tertiary life:

“What it means in practice is that when university courses are free, students will think about them differently. Some students may begin their studies without much commitment because, well, it does not cost anything. They might also then take a more relaxed approach to studying since, again, it does not cost them anything (other than opportunity costs which are harder to notice). With this attitude, these students may not even bring their studies to a conclusion.”

It is clearly Hartwich’s view that the pieces of paper doled out at the end of its courses are the be-all and end-all of university life. This instrumental view of tertiary education lends itself to the notion that: “as the recipient of something free, you are not in the best position to demand better service. As a paying customer, suppliers need to treat you better if they do not want to lose you. If customers are not paying, they may well be regarded as a nuisance.”

It gets worse. “For a university to be run like any good service provider,” says Hartwich, “it should think about its students as clients. And for students to take their studies seriously, they should be paying for them. Of course, for students who cannot afford to pay the fees, there need to be financing options. But university education as such should not be free.”

Nothing here about the pernicious consequences for both academic rigor and student achievement of turning tertiary education into a commodity. Fully enmeshed in the market economy, university “providers” cannot afford to risk alienating their fee-paying “clients” by holding them to the sort of rigorous academic standards that characterised my tertiary education. If it comes to a choice between jettisoning standards or jettisoning students, the commercially-driven university will sacrifice its standards every time.

Of course no neoliberal paean to user-pays tertiary education would be complete without the ritual condemnation of publicly-provided tertiary education’s allegedly socially regressive character.

“Finally, as someone who has successfully completed a master’s and a doctorate, of course I have a much greater ability to generate income than someone without such qualifications. So the question is, why would I expect that other person to subsidise me? What right do I have to demand people with poor skills in low-wage jobs to pay for my university education that would yield me a much higher income than they would ever have? Isn’t this grossly unfair for them?”

I am always astounded at the neoliberal’s confidence that the above argument should be regarded as the clincher – against which no rational or ethical response is possible. It is only possible to make this case, however, if the concepts of citizenship and social reciprocity are first eliminated from the equation.

Access to tertiary education is every citizen’s right, and so it is also every citizen’s responsibility. The low-wage worker contributes to the cost of a wealthy person’s children’s university degrees because the wealthy person contributes to the cost of the worker’s kids’ post-school education. For the low-wage worker, this is a huge step forward, comparable in its life-enhancing effects to the provision of universal health care.

But the very notion of “middle-class welfare”, or, as Hartwich puts it, “the reverse of income redistribution” only makes sense in a neoliberal society which no longer subjects its wealthier citizens to the rigors of progressive taxation.

Of course the graduates of Law and Medical School will earn more than workers “with poor skills in a low-wage job”, but in a decent, social-democratic society, the lawyer and the doctor will also pay much higher taxes. It’s all about your fellow citizens paying you forward, and you then paying them back.

This was the socio-political environment from which Dr Oliver Hartwich fled and is ideologically committed to destroying. It is also the socio-political environment in which I was raised, and which allowed me to attend university without incurring massive debt. That Labour is pledged to restoring this environment is extremely heartening. Not only because it will make this a more just and equal country to live in, but also because any such restoration of social-democratic values in New Zealand will, almost certainly, see Dr Hartwich high-tail it for more congenial jurisdictions.

63 COMMENTS

  1. The Dr Oliver Hartwich’s of this world are simply parasites upon our society. As you rightly point out, Chris, they accept their free education without a hint that they might secretly despise this wonderful tax payer gift. In later years, however, they then seek to deny following generations the very access to free education upon which they themselves have so richly benefitted (and not just financially). The word ‘hypocrisy’ comes to mind. Unfotunately, this character trait is alive and well among many in the current government, including but not limited to, Paula Bennett and John Key. It seems to me that such individuals are determined to pull up the ladder behind them because as we know, an educated population is more inclined to ask awkward questions of its leaders.

    • Might I add there is never a suggestion by the likes of Hartwich that they would be willing to reimburse the state for the cost of their free education. Moreover, they continue to argue against younger generations receiving a free education because unlike them, they wouldn’t appreciate something they didn’t have to pay for. As I say, they’re hypocrites.

        • Bloodsuckers?…Leeches?… many of the lower species of the Phylum Annelida such as its subclass Hiruinea ( leeches ) spring to mind when the neo liberal is discussed…

          As does the word ‘Quisling ‘ keep suggesting itself…

      • Horribly, yes…

        So many factors created this monster, and pretty much every segment of society is to blame for.

        No one wants to recognise when you pay an extra dollar in tax for education purposes, you gain $10 job earnings.

        The employee dosnt receive the whole ten dollars it’s just that the one dollar in tax gets passed around a few times.

  2. Oliver Hartwich is a weird mix of right and left wing values. On some matters he sticks with conservative Tory status quo values, while in other areas he is more progressive than even Chris Trotter -who has had little to say about affordable housing, whereas Oliver Hartwich has made real sacrifices in his efforts to promote reform. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Marc_Hartwich

    Oliver Hartwich is completely wrong about tertiary education -with his 1990 Neoliberal throwback arguments.

    But on housing affordability matters -which would most benefit the working class he has real credibility.

    A political hit-job essentially ran him out of the UK for telling truth to power, by his publishing arguments that unaffordable housing was a man-made creation and as such could be reformed.

    • Yes…and much as the Trojan horse appeared like a gift,…so too do neo liberals such as Hartwich who come bringing glad tidings of joys to those on the lower social economic rungs of society.

      Yes there may be at first glance a redeeming aspect to his social message regarding the housing crisis … but it begs the question ,… why then support a system that encourages people to stay at their prescribed ‘station in life’ on low wages instead of encouraging those same people to not only have decent housing but a decent education that elevates them above their prescribed ‘station in life’ ?

      SURELY THAT …. is the ideal ?

      For people to be encouraged and nurtured by a govt and its policy’s to be the best they can be for them and their family’s? Isn’t this what we elect govt’s to do?

      So why have a selectivity and cherry picking only some aspects?

      Could it be because trapping people into a certain income strata ensures those neo liberals with vested interests in that housing ensures even more wealth redistribution upwards?

      I’m sorry to say that Hartwichs crocodile tears for his beloved ‘low wage earners’ comes apart as soon as he endorses his neo liberal views of user pays student debt.

      It is nothing more than a sly and repulsive attempt to appear socially concerned when in fact overall it is a form of economic entrapment designed for yet more plunder of the commons wealth.

      If Hartwich truly had his beloved ‘low wage earners ‘ at heart he would endorse both aspects of his housing and free tertiary education. Not come here knowingly being able to profiteer on the misery that 32 years of neo liberalism has now produced.

      PRE 1984 THIS COUNTRY had all this and much , much more and these sorts of debates didn’t even exist. Nor did the levels of economic disparity for that matter.

      It was called SOCIAL DEMOCRACY , ladies and gentlemen , – and in the late 1960’s we were ranked as among the most prosperous nations globally.

      Yet last time we looked we were ranked 32nd – behind that of Mexico.

      AND WE HAD A FREE tertiary education system , free health system – we actually OWNED our assets – and we had housing adequate to house those less financially well off and ensure that they could if they wanted to improve their education thus their incomes unfettered by massive student debts.

      And we certainly had no need whatsoever for the Hartwichs of this world to come over here and take advantage of his beloved ‘ low wage earners’ and then start lecturing us about the ethics and joys and benefits of the neo liberal monetarist system.

      I think it would be far better for the Hartwichs of this world – that if they chose to relocate and live in this country that they would do so knowing full well that as a high income earner you will be required to pay a progressively higher tax bracket to offset the obvious privileges and financial advantages that a high income will bestow in further investments.

      And that in paying those higher taxes ensures that those of his precious ‘low wages earners ‘ have an enhanced chance to better themselves.

      NOW THAT …. is a true ‘ level playing field ‘ .

      • RE: “Yes there may be at first glance a redeeming aspect to his social message regarding the housing crisis … but it begs the question ,… why then support a system that encourages people to stay at their prescribed ‘station in life’ on low wages instead of encouraging those same people to not only have decent housing but a decent education….” Good point.

        That’s what I meant about weird mix.

        • Indeed yes… the mans selectivity just doesn’t add up… and the only reason Im sure we can see is that it is a political ‘softener ‘ to mask another motive… which makes it all the more insidious…

          To which we are not that easily fooled.

          Thank you Chris for highlighting this individuals guile.

    • I am not sure whether his ideas are that feasible and sensible:

      http://oliverhartwich.com/2008/08/13/cities-unlimited/

      “The key recommendations from the report are:
      To increase the size of London by allowing landowners the right to convert industrial land into residential land in areas of above average employment. If only half of the 10,000 hectares earmarked as industrial land in London and the South East were used for housing, £25 billion in value would be created and half a million people would be able to move to an area that offers much better prospects than where they live now.
      To dramatically expand Oxford and Cambridge, just as Liverpool and Manchester expanded in the 19th century. Research has shown that cities based on highly skilled workers are the most dynamic. Oxford and Cambridge offer the best opportunities for successful expansion.
      That government should roll-up current regeneration funding streams and allocate the money to local authorities. Under these proposals it would be for local authorities to assess the opportunities, devise a plan for their area and implement it. They would be answerable not to central government, but to local people.”

      What Hartwich has been propagating here in NZ is to empower the regions by allowing them to enter into contracts with private business and offer special tax excemptions and other initiatives to attract business there, plus create their own frameworks, legal and others, to make them more independent from Central Goverment.

      All this has some positives and negatives.

      It is a recipe though for a fragmented country, where you have perhaps different wage and salary and tax rules for people depending on the region and locality they live in, as they will compete for investment by offering special terms to business.

      He favours something a bit similar to economic free zones, like China and some other countries have tried. You will not recognise your own country after a few decades of such a system.

      I heard him talk on that on RNZ some time last year or so.

  3. Indeed… and bludgers like Hartwich should really beetle off to the USA where he can really trough it up royally in the land of the free market economy…

    Funny how the USA and country’s like Japan still has tariffs and subsidies , as is the hold up with such as the TTPA however,… but we wont mention that now , will we…

    And quite rightly, the neo liberal can afford to spout off about ‘fairness’ when there is no progressive tax framework in place, … and that he , like others of his ilk , can also afford to spout off knowing full well that reciprocality to greater society will never happen as his ‘larger earning capacity with his qualifications’ will constantly put distance between his beloved ‘ lower wage earners ‘ and himself , – and for all of his working life he will hold that advantage far outstripping any tax he would have to pay – and he knows that.

    So much for the neo liberals high minded ethics and morals and talk of a ‘level playing field ‘.

    And the son or daughter of his beloved ‘low wage earner’ who cannot afford such fees goes to work in some cruddy , dead end, low paid job that is casualised and doesn’t even adequately pay the rent. I say rent because of most young Kiwi’s nowadays cant even afford a mortgage.

    ………………………………………………………………………………………..

    [Access to tertiary education is every citizen’s right, and so it is also every citizen’s responsibility. The low-wage worker contributes to the cost of a wealthy person’s children’s university degrees because the wealthy person contributes to the cost of the worker’s kids’ post-school education. For the low-wage worker, that’s a huge step forward.

    But the very notion of “middle-class welfare”, or, as Hartwich puts it, “the reverse of income redistribution” only makes sense in a neoliberal society which no longer subjects its wealthier citizens to the rigors of progressive taxation.

    Yes, the graduates of Law and Medical School will earn more than workers “with poor skills in low-wage jobs”, but in a decent, social-democratic society, the lawyer and the doctor will also pay much higher taxes. It’s all about your fellow citizens paying you forward, and then you paying them back. ]

    ………………………………………………………………………………………..

    And it is precisely because of neo liberalism and its abhorrence of a progressive tax scale that troughers like Hartwich can come here to our shores and cash in on his beloved ‘low wage earners ‘ ,… and precisely why our young people leave these shores for higher wages after being saddled with a mountain of debt.

    Hence we have to ‘import’ these ‘experts’ from overseas whereas before under Social Democracy we produced generation after generation of qualified professionals – now, there is a thriving business ( racket ) having foreigners come here to study – far outstripping our own young people who would formerly often have come from the poorer sectors of society…

    And it is exactly that thriving business ( racket ) that thrives on making a buck out of students that discourages participation of Hartwichs beloved ‘low wage earners’.

    The two clinchers below sum it up nicely… :

    1) [ ‘ the concepts of citizenship and social reciprocity ‘ ]

    2) [ “the reverse of income redistribution” only makes sense in a neoliberal society which no longer subjects its wealthier citizens to the rigors of progressive taxation ‘. ]

    It is time these neo liberal troughers start to pay their way in life and are subject to a progressive tax system that ceases to penalize Hartwich’s beloved ‘low wage earners ‘ and halts the rorting of the system by these sort of capitalist bludgers.

    Introduction of a progressive tax system and further development of Labours education policy’s would go a long way in reversing the parasitic neo liberal system that leeches such as Hartwich advocate.

  4. You have written so well. Nothing much to add from me except to say…

    A just, fair and enlightened society collectively endeavours to provides its people equal opportunity and universal basic human rights including education. Why should a less well off person, in the pursuit of the basic right to education, be burdened with a massive education debt just because he or she is poor.

    Dr Hartwich needs to get better educated. Some doctors make you well. This one makes me sick.

    • +100 Clem …and great POST on education by Chris Trotter!

      … as Plato and Socrates saw it …education is for the WHOLE PERSON
      …and this is the best of the Western tradition of liberal education and what is valued in the great university traditions

      …education is a good in itself and the truly educated person is force for good in a democratic and culturally rich society

      …the truly educated person thirsts for knowledge as a value in itself and has intrinsic motivation to learn…this is NOT extrinsic motivation for a meal ticket

      …with neoliberalism has come USER PAYS and UTILITARIANISM in education…hence the idea of education as a MEANS TO AN END and a meal ticket…however this is really TRAINING NOT EDUCATION in the highest sense

      perhaps Dr Hartwich needs to get beyond neoliberalism and his own narrow field of utilitarian economics ( which incidentally is outmoded)and study some Philosophy of Education …perhaps Dr Hartwich needs a good liberal education in the highest sense of the word

  5. He needs to lose those glasses and grow a toothbrush moustache.

    Beware of sour Krauts bearing gifts.

    Been there, done that…

  6. Interesting that Hartwich recieved his education free, courtesy of the German taxpayer – then proceeds to deride that gift;

    “The first thing I would say about free education is that it suffers from a basic flaw. If something does not cost anything, it is not valued much either.”

    Well, he apparently has proven that point by not valuing what he has received.

    Secondly, neither Hartwich, Ruth Richardson, Steven Joyce, John Key, or any other critics of a free tertiary education have ever put their money where their pious mouthings are, and paid for what they received.

    The gross hypocrisy of their double standards is crystal clear.

    Thirdly, let’s look at the oft-parroted cliche that education is a private good.

    Really?

    I wonder what kind of society/economy we might have if none of us could read, write, or count?

    Extrapolate that into tertiary education, and I believe the answer is self-evident.

    As always, neo-liberal dogma fails the ‘sniff test’ when put under scrutiny.

    • “Secondly, neither … Ruth Richardson, … or any other critics of a free tertiary education…”

      Hm, Ruth Richardson! Brings back bad memories. I thought she and Prebble were kaput.

      • They may be – which they are not , sadly – but their disgusting treasonous legacy still infects this country and continues to be regurgitated and reincarnated by the likes of John Key 32 years after the Rogernomes first set about NZ’s destruction.

        • Quote : ‘Rogernomes first set about NZ’s destruction’

          Not entirely…Their capitalist policies helped transfer the wealth to the rich class and the corporates while bringing hardship, misery, scraps and some trickle down drops to the lives of the less privileged.

    • Replace the words “free education” with “love”, take 2 minutes to think on it, and you expose the ‘basic flaw’ of neoliberalisim and possibly neoliberals – and definitely Mr Hartwick.

    • Yes. And if cost and value were genuine similes, the phrase about knowing “the cost of everything and the value of nothing” would be self-contradictory, which it clearly isn’t.

  7. As much as I despise Phil Goff and the other Labour neolibs for clinging on to Rogernomics 30-odd years after its stealthy inception, Goff’s leadership analogy speech accusing the Nats of “pulling up the ladder behind them” is one that aptly applies to Hatewich’s attitudes to tertiary education.

    If only Goff believed in his own rhetoric, rejected neoliberal treason and re-connected with more socialist Labour values, Labour may be able to shake off the blue-tinge it has developed and challenge National for the centre.

  8. Oliver Hartwich is nothing more or less than one of those bought and bred “Chicago Boys”, groomed by British and US think tanks and vested interests. He is the typical type of that kind of mercenary, and shameless to spit out such comments like the ones discussed here.

    And he is now as top head at the NZ Initiative regularly given airtime on various media outlets, even Radio NZ. It is this idiotic thinking where economists or economic spokespersons are treated almost like saints and prophets, hence held in high esteem.

    But because our MSM is full of brainfades and willing, desperate mercenaries, more concerned with their appearance and Twitter following, than with researching and presenting a real story, we have none of the many reporters actually saying anything sensible, or asking any hard questions.

    The dumb and blind are leading the dumbed down and blinded, that is the so called silent majority, loyally following the head ram.

    Hartwich should pack his bag and piss off, I’d say. I suspect he left Germany, because there few have time for his ideologically coloured thinking and views. Send him off to Obamaland, please, help him pack his suitcase and taken him to the airport, quickly, please.

  9. Sounds like a snob, thinks like a snob, hell, the guy even looks like a complete snob.

    Stephen Joyce and his government’s primary argument against the whole concept of free tertiary education – being that you will likely get a dilution in student caliber , therefore ultimately the same effect to the education system – is simplistic and narrow minded, if not completely selfish. Though, looking at Joyce and his fellow bunch of numb nuts who benefited from such fully funded institutions, you can’t help think Steve does have a valid point.

    By having proven history of prior learning, and setting a good level of minimum standards to gain entry to any tertiary institute, along with being linked with continued monitoring of performance criteria, then the concern of having unsuitable candidates taking up valuable places in the system should be easily minimized.

    To simply dismiss the whole concept, in turn denies the rightful opportunity for students from less fortunate financial backgrounds to gain higher education, so that not only they may improve their future’s, but in turn, it improves our general standard of society as well.

  10. One of the worst features of for fee education is the presumption that education is a product like cheese that can be sold by the kilo. This commodification is largely false, and in many real disciplines there is little relation between academic accomplishment and earning power.

    The second feature was the suppression of what had been a cooperative academic community. University libraries began to charge for interloans and the presumption of inter-institutional cooperation began to break down.

    Traitors like Goff should lose their parliamentary super. Rogergnomics was sold on a promise of growth and prosperity it never delivered – we are entirely within our rights to demand its adherents make good the shortfall.

  11. Free tertiary education for the middle and upper classes (who benefit by far the most) should not be funded by those struggling to get by day to day.

    The only free education should go to those who cannot receive any family support and for whom we need to break the cycle.

    • Rubbish! Those who cannot receive any family support are NOT wealthy. Student loans can go up to tens of thousands of dollars. Are you saying they should save up from that assistance (which is a result of low wages) and pay for their own fundamental right to education or burden themselves with student loans because they are the ‘under class’?

      The fair and sensible way to do this is by ‘universal’ free education for at least three years of post school education in the modern world for /uni degree/ polytechnic diploma/certificate/training/re-training/apprenticeship etc.

      Have a better progressive tax system and not the tax cuts, investment bailouts and loopholes which primarily helps the wealthy.

    • Two things, Jollo.
      Firstly, means testing is a very expensive gatekeeper system for allocating resources.
      Secondly, properly set, progressive taxes help to ensure that the burdens are appropriately shared.

      No Left party should be afraid to assert that the tax take is likely to rise should they win power, that those paying more will be precisely those perfectly able to pay more and that services will also be enhanced.

      Enhanced, communally funded access to necessary and unavoidable services like education and health care is the only reliable way to increase availability of discretionary resources to those who currently barely have any. It is a necessary, although perhaps not sufficient, technique which can contribute to a reversal of the seemingly inexorable advance of inequality in the world economy.

      No one should be afraid of asserting the fact.

      • How much money has been wasted in healthcare, for example, on introducing unnecessary regulatory layers of administration?

        Do the math on progressive taxation, Sam(or look it up), then get back to me with that apology.

        • I’m more of a sovereign wealth fund kind of guy. You know, that proposal Keynes put forward to save during the boom times to spend in times of hardship.

          But what ever about that, I’d just like to say it is good manners to follow the lines around comments before opening your big mouth and replying

    • @Jollo…far better to tax the extremely wealthy extremely heavily the way they do in Denmark

      …and then have free high quality state run education , including tertiary education for all

      …in addition to high quality state provided health care and housing for all

      ( this jonkey nact government is creating a class system…little or no taxes paid by the wealthiest ….and quality education only for the wealthy mediocre ( the middle classes cannot afford tertiary education for their children and their children can not afford it).

      …and as well jonkey nact is privatising education and running down , starving of funds, state education so their rich mates (USA)can suck off our taxes to become education providers ( eg. Charter Schools / private schools and tertiary education )

      …jonkey nactional and the neoliberals are trying to get away from New Zealand providing its own education (as in Finland, Denmark and other countries where education is of the highest quality , egalitarian , free for all ….and State run)

    • Why do they ALWAYS bring in the middle class? Why not say “free tertiary education for upper classes (who benefit the most)…” – is this because they are trying to scare them? To be honest, (under their mentality) if our society can’t afford to pay for everyone maybe we should only be charging the wealthy who can afford to do it without loans.

        • Yeah – I agree with you, Chooky but I’m not the one going round saying ” we can’t afford to pay for everyone to get tertiary education” or all the other stuff “we” supposedly can’t afford. If “we” can afford the conditions that allow for this incredible wealth and privilege “we” need to put in what “we” can afford to keep it that way without ripping off the next generation.

    • Free tertiary education for the middle and upper classes (who benefit by far the most) should not be funded by those struggling to get by day to day.

      I think you’ll find, Jollo, that those “struggling to get by day to day” now includes a chunk of the Middle Classes.

      Suggesting that “The only free education should go to those who cannot receive any family support and for whom we need to break the cycle”
      – unfortunately, that allows governments like National to cut back on support – much like Paula Bennet cut back on the Training Incentive Allowance, which she used to her personal benefit to obtain a free university education.

      Ref: http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/bennett-cutting-a-benefit-helped-her-labour-103907

      Only a universal system, funded from general taxation, can work.

      Those who end up with high salaries through tertiary education can help pay for it (paying it forward) through progressive taxation.

      So your assertion that “education for the middle and upper classes (who benefit by far the most) should not be funded by those struggling to get by day to day”
      is a cliched red herring. Low and middle income families would receive near-free education, funded from general taxation.

      This is how it worked pre-1992, and it benefitted Key, Joyce, Ruth Richardson, and many others of their generation.

    • Oh, yes, Jollo, because user-pays in education has been such an outstanding success, with $14 billion owed by students?

      How high does the debt has to go before that “success” starts to look dubious in your eyes?

  12. I heard the National Radio interview with Oliver Hartwich. One of the consequences of charging for university education is that , I suspect, young people will look upon each course on offer as either an investment for future earnings or a long-term debt liability. Isn’t there a danger that students will not want to study the humanities? What sort of society is being created by making education expensive?

    • Great point…. life isn’t all about the so called ‘ pragmatic’ skills either –

      A civilized and advanced society needs its academics as well…as evidenced by the attempted gagging of so many academics by this govt…

      Why? … because it is PRECISELY the ability of these academics ,… who by being DEMOCRATICALLY ENABLED to dissent and criticize a govt’s policy’s that keeps that govt on the honest straight and narrow .

      We have seen the direct end results of the gagging of academics over the last 9 years – and the fruits of that has been a runaway, out of control govt that has become accustomed to using threats of funding cuts and job loss as a means of enforcing an anti democratic, conformity to that party’s dictates.

      And this is where it gets dangerous.

      When you have those academics dismissed and gagged …. bullied and coerced into producing only the current political party’s prescribed viewpoint …and that of their political commentators….

      WE HAVE A SITUATION not unlike that of Nazi Germany of the 1930’s whereby the brain-washed Hitler Youth were encouraged to symbolically burn books denouncing any that would seem to oppose their fanatical Fuhrers megalomania and grandiose plans for immortality and posterity.

      1) Thought control and propaganda via suppression and minimization of real time facts through the media of any negative reflections on govt

      2) Minimization via media compliance – the use of irrelevant issues and distractions

      3) Smear campaigns on dissenting points of view

      4) Misuse of govt intelligence agency’s to discredit opposing viewpoints

      5) Funding cuts or the threats thereof

      6) Personal attacks

      7) Financial ruin

      We have seen all that and more by any who have opposed this govt barring the all too obvious book burning’s … but the intent has certainly been the same and so also has been the effect.

      And whether we choose to attribute those qualities to either Fascism or Communism… the end result is always the same…

      TOTALITARIANISM.

  13. A case in point and true story to highlight Chris ‘ s flawless take on this subject, is of a Danish friend who used to moan a bit about the amount of tax they had to pay, even though he , his wife and three children lived a very comfortable life in Denmark.
    However, just as their children were about to start University financial disaster struck, as a business deal with an American associate went horribly wrong.
    Had it not been for the tertiary education policies of Denmark , they said that there was absolutely no way they could have afforded to put them through University.
    Fast forward 10 years and they now proudly have an Engineer, an Architect and a Dentist in the family who all earn good money , pay their taxes , contribute well to Danish society and lead good comfortable lives.
    Last time we spoke he said we will never ever complain again about how much tax they have to pay . “We are forever grateful for our system and society. I don’t know what the hell we were thinking”!!

  14. Yes Chris and co this is another foreigner planted here to do Key’s warped work of turning NZ into a private club for the rich for his corporate mates and the average working public cant go on bleeding money to prop up this corrupt “Chicago style” mob running NZ Inc’.

    Time to boot them out come election time NZ.

    • @ CLEANGREEN …. I am seeing the correlation between the House of ‘SHERF’… WALKER and Bush… and those of SAXE COBURG – GOTHA…the City of London and the European banks…the Rothschild’s …and moving further back… Adam Weishaupt of Bavaria,… The Black Pope…and the Jesuits,… going further back ,… the Ashkenazi…and the Khazars…

      And after seeing that correlation… it is no surprise that this latest… Hartwich… is a modern representative among that number…

      Yet the gigs up, the covers been blown… For those interested… for those who dig for truth… the origins are all there for your perusal…

      And there you will see the modern descendants of a very old game , to which this neo liberal Hartwich belongs…its nothing new… just the same old games being played.

      And do you want to know how you pour cold water on their plans?

      Its simple.

      Exposure.

      They really , really hate that.

      Just like like you kick over a carcass and watch the maggots scuttle… the same is done to the neo liberal.

      You have nothing to fear from the likes of them…

      At all.

  15. “Finally, as someone who has successfully completed a master’s and a doctorate, of course I have a much greater ability to generate income than someone without such qualifications. So the question is, why would I expect that other person to subsidise me? What right do I have to demand people with poor skills in low-wage jobs to pay for my university education that would yield me a much higher income than they would ever have? Isn’t this grossly unfair for them?”

    Did this guy write John keys “waitress” speech?

    Someone (in the media) needs to ask anyone who puts forward such utter rubbish, if they are so idealistically opposed to free tertiary education, why did they not pay for it when they were studying, rather than let the poor waitress subsidise their education?

    OR

    “why should a poor waitress pay for my education?” “I dunno prime minister, maybe so you can pull her ponytail?”

  16. Another Professional Bludger like Paula Rebstock writing reports to satisfy the objectives of the Natzis and the Neoliberals?

  17. Imagine if instead of investing that money into the already ‘haves’ by giving them free tertiary education, we invested it into the don’t ‘haves’. Children in poverty who don’t have access to quality pre-school education, primary schools in low decile areas who can’t attract quality teachers, the same for high schools, and invested in quality comprehensive alternative education and intervention programs for kids who fall out of the school system.

    Investing in children will do far more to level the playing field and provide equal opportunity for all.

      • …we are talking about taxing the wealthiest as they do in places like Denmark ….so everyone can have a free high quality education from preschool to post doctorate

    • Imagine if instead of investing that money into the already ‘haves’ by giving them free tertiary education, we invested it into the don’t ‘haves’.

      Would you like a hankey for your crocodile tears, Jollo?

      You have as much concern for have-nots as I do for John Key’s dilemma where to take his family for a holiday.

    • You’re advocating Act policy, Jollo? Hasn’t Act been rejected by 99% of the population? In fact, I think Mana got more votes than Act.

  18. The sad fact is that many, otherwise reputable entities (such as Kiwibank, Air New Zealand, The University of Auckland, St Cuthbert’s College, and Wellingtion City Council) are happy to get in NZ Institute’s bed with hardened Neoliberal DR Oliver Hatwitch (alongside Alan Gibbs, big tobacco, big gambling, etc.).

    And apparentlly happy to fund Neoliberal flavored public policy papers and public media appearances by ideologues such as DR Oliver Hartwitch and the rest of his unholy (rebranded Business Roundtable) NZ Institutethink-tank.

    Where is the upside for Kiwibank, Air New Zealand, The University of Auckland, St Cuthbert’s College, and Wellingtion City Council, to affiliate themselves with a hard-Right, reactionary, organization – like NZ Initiative ?

    • You see a recurrent theme running all the way through the neo liberal discourse …sheer abhorrence and terror of the corporations and the extremely wealthy in having to foot a progressive tax scale that would force them to pay their fair share of the taxation burden.

      If ever there was a case for indicting themselves… the above article :

      TUITION MIXES – THE SAND PIT is about the best example we will ever see…

  19. Right wing economists…persecution of the young ( these neolib economists should be thrown in jail…not young students)

    ‘US Marshals make arrests over non-payment of student loans’

    https://www.rt.com/usa/332657-marshals-arrest-student-loans/

    ….”Student loans have become a hot-button issue in the Democratic presidential primaries. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have railed against what they call excessive student debt, vowing to lower student loan interest rates. However, Sanders goes a step further by supporting tuition-free public universities that are fully paid for with a tax on Wall Street.

    Almost 71 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients graduate with a student loan, and those graduating in 2015 have an average debt from school of over $35,000, according to The Wall Street Journal.”

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