The TPPA is a major threat to our fee-free, high-quality public education system, says NZEI Te Riu Roa National Secretary, Paul Goulter.

The threat is heightened by negotiations for another secretive trade deal, TISA, and the government’s review of the Education Act.

NZEI Te Riu Roa is particularly concerned about the government’s silence over the potential dangers to our public education system, says Goulter.

NZEI has written to the Trade Minister, Todd McClay, to seek assurances that the government will take steps to protect education from global edu-businesses seeking to profit from the New Zealand taxpayer.

“The wording is ambiguous but the TPPA appears to open the door to allowing international corporations to establish schools or supply textbooks and other learning resources and then demand ‘level-playing field’ access to the public education purse.”

Unlike Singapore, our Government did not carve education out of the TPPA deal.

Paul Goulter says this is even more concerning in light of another secretive trade deal currently being negotiated.

“The Trade In Service Agreement (TISA) would restrict future governments’ rights to regulate the quality and provision of education and protect unique aspects of New Zealand’s education system.

“Together, these two deals would strike at the very foundations of our quality public education system and the outcome would be greater inequality for New Zealand children.”

NZEI is asking that the government’s current review of the Education Act specifically includes protections that ensure foreign corporations do not have free access to our annual $12.9 billion education budget.

“We need to ensure that the government reserves the right to retain education as a ‘social service established for a public good’ under the TPPA provisions.

“But so far, the Minister’s lack of response is cause for concern.”