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The third biggest chunk of government spending, after benefits and health, goes to education. From pre-school to uni, the principles on which the sector operates, and how its users pay for it, are in many ways at the core of NZ’s values.

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Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education is broadly believed to be a good thing, improving the chances of educational success for children. The government provides some free early childhood education, but there’s debate about whether this is enough.

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Tertiary Education

Post-secondary study, including at uni, used to be a lot cheaper, but with more and more people taking part, successive governments have said students should pay a greater proportion of the cost, often by taking out a loan from the state.

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Trades and Vocational Education

Learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom. The apprenticeship model may seem to hark from an older time, but training in the workplace never disappeared, and some argue that the approach needs fresh thinking.

what the parties will do about


Have you paid your donation? Primary and secondary schools are free in New Zealand — strictly speaking. But that doesn’t tell you much about how well resourced different schools are, and whether everyone’s getting a good education.