In the last few days the people of New Zealand have been inundated with stories about our new government.

What election promises will likely be in the pipelines, who will hold ministerial positions and what the change in government will mean for different sectors of our community.

Even the biggest political buff would have a hard time remembering every press conference comment and tidbit of analysis that has been in the news these last five days.

So it's only natural that those issues you personally care about are more likely to stick in your mind.


For me, that's education - and while partnership schools and national standards look to be in the firing line - what has really caught my attention is the likelihood that free tertiary education is months away from being a reality.

While policy agreements are yet to be released, during the campaign Prime Minister-designate Jacinda Ardern announced one year free for everyone entering study or training from January 1 next year.

From 2021 those starting tertiary education would get two years free, and from 2024 three years. The overall cost of the package is $6 billion.

Both New Zealand First and the Green Party support some form of free tertiary education.

Naturally student unions and associations are jumping for joy at the prospect, but when I look back at my time at university I can't help but think it's not going to work.

Sure, if you want to knock a few grand off each student's debt, do so - but don't make it their first year of study, make it their third.

University is so easy to get into these days that people with no intention of getting a degree enrol to get the "uni experience".

That experience is going on four-day benders, living in dingy flats and treating every week like it's O Week.

I knew people who didn't open a single textbook their entire first year.

By paying for these people's first year of study, we are pouring money down the drain.

We should absolutely be supporting our tertiary students, but let's support those who do the hard yards, and genuinely deserve it.