While many of the sentiments and statements made in Finance Minister Grant Robertson's speech resonate with us here at Toi Ohomai, there was nothing new for the ITP sector in the 2018 Budget apart from the Fees Free and boost in student support for living costs announced in December 2017.

It would have been great to have received an inflationary adjustment (something the sector has only received once in the past 10 years) and there is perhaps a lost opportunity to loosen the 99 per cent threshold for clawback. Another option could have been to redirect unused tuition subsidies towards higher funding rates.

Our courses provide the skills for many of the ambitions set out in the Budget. We cover healthcare, construction and environmental management to name a few. Toi Ohomai also offers courses that will aid the Government's plans to support those with additional and complex needs, for enhancing early childhood education, and keeping New Zealand safe from pests.

Robertson's suggestion that the need for tertiary education to be about more than just university degrees also resonates with our ambitions at Toi Ohomai. Not only do we offer degrees and partner with the University of Waikato to provide pathways to the university experience, we also provide education and qualifications that support people from all backgrounds into apprenticeships and vocational training. In addition, we have a wide variety of services that are geared towards helping those who sometimes struggle in an educational environment.

We are delighted with the announcement of the new Te Kawa Matakura programme. Our name as Toi Ohomai was gifted to us by iwi. We have the largest number of Māori students in Aotearoa and an expanding catalogue of Te Ao Māori courses.

Rewarding and recognising excellence in Te Ao Māori is paramount to ensuring our country's unique history is preserved and celebrated by all New Zealanders. I will be personally reaching out to the Hon Kelvin Davis to offer our support.

Dr Leon Fourie
chief executive, Toi Ohomai

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