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  • rmacculloch

Don't you love it? Emeritus Professor Peter Davis (who must hate being called "Helen Clark's husband") comes out against free tuition fees.

Newsroom has been lamenting, as you would expect, the new coalition's education policies. Today it reports the headline, "Budget shifts universities’ financial burden onto students". Yes, that woman the left are determined to paint as the Reincarnation-of-Ruth-Richardson, The Mother of Meanness, Nicola Willis, has drawn the disapproval of Otago University Student Association President Keegan Wells. Keegan just has to be a budding student-in-training-to-be-a-new-generation-Labour Party MP, following in the big paw-prints of her new Vice-Chancellor Grant Robertson. Grant knows all about how to make the jump from Varsity politics to national politics and then (this is the clever part) back again!? Keegan said Willis' Budget 2024 approach was “just not enough” and that it showed the Coalition talked a big game about education, but that talk ended “as soon as those students hit their teens".

But is that the truth? Or is it that many of the Otago students who cry poor are more likely to be found in pubs than lecture rooms? Will they now have to go easier on buying beers for their next party? That's not my view - instead its closer to the view of a chap called Emeritus Professor Peter Davis, who I had a coffee with a few years ago in Auckland. In a comment to Newsroom's article, Davis has the following to say (dated 31 May 2024):

Now if David Seymour from ACT dropped that comment on Newsroom, the students would label him Extreme Right. Dangerous. A hater. Worthy of protests. Someone who must be marginalized. Banned from campus. De-platformed. But I agree with Davis. He's onto it. I wish he'd been Education Minister, instead of Chippy Hipkins, who stuffed it up. As Davis observes, paying billions of bucks to the 70% of university students from wealthy families, who went to the best schools, is a huge transfer of wealth from poor to rich. Those funds could've been used to fund drugs from Pharmac, build hospitals, fix our cities' ailing infrastructure & fund apprentice-ships. But no. Instead the money is spent on booze in the South for posh Auckland students who went to Otago for a laugh.

Hang on? Wasn't it Peter Davis' wife, a certain Helen Clark, who sneakily stole an election off Don Brash, by declaring a few weeks before the election that student loans would become interest free? Or am I just imagining it? Do Peter & Helen have these kinds of disagreements at their breakfast table? Must be tense in the mornings.



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