Intenet Mana touts free tertiary education
The Internet Mana roadshow parked up in Palmerston North and promised the city's students free tertiary education.
In a packed room at the Palmerston North Convention Centre, Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom was joined by Internet and Mana Party candidates including the Internet Party's Palmerston North contendor Dr Pani Farvid.
Farvid, an Auckland academic, pushed the party's policy for free tertiary education.
"This means that all New Zealanders who want to better their education can do so for free, as we all know knowledge is power," she said.
"We are doing a massive disservice to our young people who have the desire and the urge to better themselves by learning more, by slapping them with a massive debt as they turn 18, 19, 20.
"They're starting their lives on the back foot as soon as they want to study."
Farvid said the party was there to take Palmerston North into the future as not only a great place to be born and live but a destination for other New Zealanders to come to.
"It shouldn't be all about Auckland or Wellington. Palmy's profile needs to be raised and that's what I see myself working towards."
Dotcom took to the stage with the loudest cheers and spoke of "growing the pie".
"We need to increase the amount of money that this country generates from its economy, and in order to do that we need to open a new door and that door is the internet economy."
Students were being forced out of the country because of the student loan system, Dotcom said.
"Once they are done studying they need to worry firstly about how to pay back the debt they have accumulated. They basically start into their professional life with a mortgage before they even own anything and that's just wrong, that they have to go and look for higher paying jobs abroad in order to pay that back . . . and they never come back," he said.
"That is insanely stupid because we have a lot of intelligent, smart, hard-working people here who want to make things happen and start businesses to create the jobs that this job market needs."
Dotcom insisted the Government needed to invest in the right digital infrastructure and in youth. "At the end of the day if we don't have incentive programmes for young people to stay here and create the businesses that New Zealand needs, then we are getting nowhere."