Today the Labour Party has announced part of it’s education policy. It focuses on the Adult and Community Education Sector. Many will remember that back in 2009, the National Government instituted an 80% cut in the funding to non literacy program courses. This caused a lot of debate at the time. It was something that Labour felt strongly about, they blogged about it on Red Alert here, here, here, here, here and here (there may have been more, but that is all I found).
Today’s graphic is as follows:
Now you will notice that the graphic claims that they will increase funding to community education TO $13million. Now there are two issues with that claim. Firstly, the funding for ACE this year is already $71million. (ref page 173)
This is the total appropriation for Community Education, on page 186 it is broken down:
So as you can see, non literacy and numeracy programs already get $22.89mil allocated for them in the coming financial year. So Labour’s graphic is claiming to increase ACE funding to a level that is around 45% lower than the current appropriation.
The bigger issue is that their graphic doesn’t agree with their policy documents. Back in 2009, the cut to ACE funding was focused on the provision of what was labeled “hobby” courses. I remember talk of twilight golf classes and things like that. That funding was cut by 80% from $16mil to around $3mil. Labours policy documents that supported this announcement state:
So Labour are promising in their policy documents to restore the nominal value of funding, with no inflation adjustment. This is a HUGE difference from what their graphic says. Their graphic implies a total funding of $13million next year, but their policy documents indicate a funding of around $36million. That means the funding difference between “graphic policy” and actual policy is around $23million.
How did no one in the whole Labour leaders office pick up this issue? I am not sure what would be worse, over selling a policy, or underselling it. One makes you look like you lied, the other makes you look inept. Neither of which is going to help an opposition party win.