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Govt should be ambitious for international students – Reti

The Education Minister should be ambitious about returning international students back to New Zealand instead of kicking the can down the road, National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

"The Government’s COVID-19 data dump showed Australia has exempted up to 1000 year 11 and 12 international students. The Australian Prime Minister has said he was open to considering students in July too.

"It’s disappointing our Education and Finance Ministers both think returning students for the second half of this year would be ‘very ambitious’ and ‘very unlikely’. New Zealanders are ambitious, we should be striving to return international students as soon as safely possible.

"Getting international students back to New Zealand safely is a sensible way to help kick-start our economy. They contribute about $5 billion a year and around 47,000 jobs.

"Universities have already agreed on isolation protocols and can quarantine low risk international students as effectively as New Zealanders are currently quarantined at the border.

"If there is more to be done to get the second half of the year up and running for international students then let’s identify exactly what is required and by whom, and fix it.

"Bringing back international students is incredibly important for our universities, polytechnics and private training establishments. The Government needs to be seriously looking at bringing back international students for the second semester in the safest way possible."

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