News 14/3 – Loans. Grad Incomes. ITO Mergers…

March 14th 2012 at 7:26am, By Dave Guerin

Wow, tertiary education certainly exploded in the media yesterday as the government started ramping up for its public sector restructuring announcement today.

Policy, Management & People

  1. Loans John Key said yesterday that interest would be staying off student loans because it was good politics even if it was bad economics (RNZ, The Standard), but National would rein in some loan costs. Labour’s Grant Robertson promptly asked for the details of the reining in (NewstalkZB), as did the Greens’ Holly Walker. David Farrar agreed that it was good politics if bad economics, while Eric Crampton asked for real interest at least (I agree with him). The NZ Herald provides a summary of it all.
  2. Graduate Incomes Steven Joyce made the news yesterday about plans to publish graduate outcomes – it was hardly a surprise as it was in their election policy (NZN). The TEU’s Sandra Grey thought it was bureaucratic beancounting. Stephen Franks liked it.
  3. ITO Mergers Steven Joyce was quoted yesterday as preferring to have 6-10, rather than 33, ITOs, which is in line with the 8 that TEC suggested 13 months ago. This led Labour’s Grant Robertson to accuse Joyce of shuffling deckchairs (RNZ).
  4. Mega-Merger There was more speculation about the nature of public sector mergers (TV3, TV3, RNZ, The Standard), but Key will announce it later today anyway (Update: oops, announcement is tomorrow).
  5. UCOL Grads UCOL has boosted its grad numbers by 50% in a year, which is great for the students, for UCOL and for the Government, which prompted UCOL into doing the work.
  6. AirAsia X Otago Uni doesn’t expect an impact on Malaysian student numbers from the removal of AirAsia X’s Christchurch services. Good angle by the ODT.
  7. Extras: Massey-Missouri uni links (RNZ); Taratahi’s Young Farmer winner (RNZ).

Research & Innovation

  1. Arthritisresearch theme to be established at Otago Uni (ODT).
  2. Bluetoothhealth monitoring by MIT’s Helen Zhou and Tim Roberts.
  3. SKA Good summary of the issues at NBR by the NZ Computer Society’s Paul Matthews.
  4. Inaugural Lecture Victoria’s Prof Jeff Tatum will be giving one about being Greek under Rome.
  5. Booze An AUT student has researched the perceived impact of alcohol tax rises on purchases by students (low).
  6. Extras: Otago Uni on obesity and microorganisms; Canterbury student checking sea ice thickness; Canterbury’s Mary Wiles has written a book on a French film director.

Public Issues

  1. Quake Canterbury’s Prof Des Bull on building failure in Christchurch (The Press) and Prof Stefano Pampanin too.
  2. Retirement Massey is involved in a new survey on retirement costs (Fairfax).
  3. Extras: Massey’s Tim Bentley on taking work home; Auckland’s Prof Nigel Haworth on pushy employers; talk with AUT’s Prof Marilyn Waring and Auckland’s Mark Harvey; Open Poly’s Jonathan Barrett on workplace accidents and human rights; Massey’s Kevin Parker on saddlebacks (The Aucklander, 3 News); Canterbury’s Prof Greg Newbold on a new prison design.


  1. Codes of Conduct Ako Aotearoa is promoting new guidance on codes of practice for domestic students.
  2. Top Florist A Rotorua floristry apprentice won an award at Ellerslie Flower Show (here’s a judge’s view).
  3. Skateboarding Otago Uni has a skateboarding and cycling policy – I wonder how many others do.
  4. Extras: Waikato boxer and kickboxer and student Council rep election.


  1. Tools UCOL bought its carpentry students’ tools from a local merchant (slow news day).
  2. Extras: ridesharing in Dunedin; UCOL sad Council fees not waived for charity house; BOPP marine reserve monitoring; Waiariki is sponsoring its local principals’ group; Victoria teacher on bus changes.

Teaching & Learning

  1. Extras: Maori PhD excellence awards at Waikato; NMIT’s aquaculture course.

2 Responses to News 14/3 – Loans. Grad Incomes. ITO Mergers…


Eric Crampton

March 14th, 2012 at 11:52 am

Key has to have a better read than I have on real political costs of policy change. But I’d have thought that changes to new loans could pass muster.

It’s awfully difficult to get the books balanced if Key rules out all spending cuts as being too politically hard. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out in the budget.


Dave Guerin

March 14th, 2012 at 11:55 am

I agree that they should push for real interest at least but, as you say, Key has better access to focus groups and better political instincts than either of us.

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