Victoria University of Wellington's (VUW) decision to stop up to 1500 students from attending university this year is because of pitifully-poor planning by the Key Government, the Green Party said today.
"How can John Key's Government expect a smart and innovative economy if they're literally not allowing those who want to up skill to do so," Green Party Tertiary Education Spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.
Last night's special meeting of the VUW Council passed a motion that limits the number of students who can attend VUW in the second and third trimesters of this year. VUW estimated it would have over 1500 more students than it would be funded for if it allowed the extra enrolments.
"What are the 1500 or so students who are not able to study at Victoria do if they're not studying? Go on the dole?," said Mr Hughes.
"This is a failure of strategic planning.
"We know that more students go into tertiary education during recessions. We know there was a mini baby boom in the mid to late 1980s that would be hitting the tertiary sector about now.
"It is simply pitifully-poor planning by former Tertiary Education Minister Tolley and current Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce that has put VUW in this situation.
"We've had information that VUW is not the only university planning such steps and indications are that Waikato, Massey and Otago will follow soon.
"Mr Joyce should have been advocating for a budget increase for the tertiary sector in next week's Budget. Suspension of new enrolments has never happened at a New Zealand university before.”
Mr Hughes said that this was part of an ongoing attack by John Key's Government on the tertiary education sector.
"Earlier this week, John Key said 'Knowledge drives prosperity.' How can New Zealand have a prosperous and innovative economy if we are limiting access to knowledge?
"Mr Key and Mr Joyce need to think hard about their priorities if they really want a prosperous New Zealand.
"Mr Joyce needs to start advocating for proper funding for tertiary education, not trying to impress Bill English with a zero increase budget," Mr Hughes said.