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Consultation was undertaken from 21 July 2021 to 24 September 2021.

About the submissions

We received 179 written submissions. We also organised seven workshop sessions that were attended by members of peak body groups from the schooling sector, tertiary union, English language sector and regional economic groups. Around 215 people participated in the workshops.

Summary of responses 

Respondents indicated whether they agreed/disagreed with the draft policy statement: high-value international education.

Of these submissions:

  • 44% agreed with the value statement but had comments on parts of the document
  • 17% agreed with the entire document
  • 24% disagreed with the content but agreed with its intent
  • 15% disagreed with the document completely.

Some respondents indicated that the policy statement is too broad, and it is unclear what kind of impact this policy statement would have on current policy settings.

Many recommended making it clearer which changes will be made to achieve the definition of high-value. Others indicated that the policy statement should focus more on what high-value is for international students, education providers and agents.

They’ve also provided additional comments on specific sections of the document. Below is the summary of these comments for each section.

On the definition of ‘high-value’

Excellent education and student experience

Submitters indicated that New Zealand already provides an excellent education and overall student experience, and that the draft policy statement provides nothing new to the sector. Multiple submissions highlighted the need to broaden and elaborate the definition of ‘excellent education and student experience’ to capture the variation of quality across education sectors. Submitters noted that ‘one-size does not fit all’, and that the definition needs to be able to accommodate the nuances of a complex sector.

Targeted students

The policy statement outlines that we want to attract motivated students with appropriate academic backgrounds, English language proficiency where required and the financial resources to succeed in their study. Multiple submitters indicated that this excludes students who still are developing their English language and academic skills such as students in the English language and schooling sector.

High-value markets

Submitters indicated that they disagreed with the use of the phrase ‘High-value market’, as it implies that students from particular countries are more valuable than others, which should not be the case. The definition should focus on diversifying our markets to ensure we are not dependent on a small group of countries.

Benefits to New Zealand

Most of the submissions agreed with the defined benefits in the policy statement (immediate economic, longer term economic, education system, cultural value, and international relations value). Some submitters indicated that the benefits will be different for each region and community, which should be reflected in the document. Lastly, some submitters indicated that the value statement should not focus on the immediate economic value as this does not align with the International Education Strategy 2018-2030.

Global citizenship

All submissions that mentioned global citizenship agreed that it is an important topic which should be included in the core definition of high-value. The definition of global citizenship should be broader than outbound mobility. It should focus on the interaction between international students and domestic students so they both get the opportunity to learn from students from different cultures and backgrounds, which can help develop them into global citizens.

Outbound mobility

Of the submissions that mentioned outbound mobility, the majority were pleased to see its inclusion in the definition of a high-value international education system. While the inclusion of outbound mobility is valued by the sector, feedback was provided on the lack of clarity around how the Government will support the expansion and enhancement of this offering. 

On who and where to target to maximise value

Length of stay

Almost all submitters believed long-term international students, across levels, presented significant value for New Zealand. Submissions also noted that most of the international students at the secondary level envisaged a clear path for themselves to tertiary study and from there, to postgraduate degrees. The majority of responses regarding tour groups show there’s no wide support for short-term tour groups in providing long-term economic value. Submitters did not believe they met the definition or goals of the International Education Strategy 2018-2030, as we shift from a focus on revenue to a focus on high-quality and high-value. However, some submitters believe short-term stay students do add value, as they are more likely to interact with the local community.


There were a small number of submissions on scholarships. Those who did comment supported scholarships, particularly those that support international students to achieve high-value educational outcomes.

Online and offshore offerings

The following concerns were raised on the topic of online and offshore offerings: questioning the efficacy of this type of provision due to perceived inabilities of institutions to provide offshore education well, the lack of incentive for students and New Zealand, and the legislative restrictions that prevent the primary and secondary sector from developing and delivering offshore/online capabilities.

English Language

Several submitters thought the policy statement did not fully capture the role of the English language sector (ELS), while others felt that positioning it alongside the ‘education tourism market’ does not recognise the role ELS plays in preparation for study, in-study support, and pathways to education, across all areas of the education system.

Diversification within New Zealand

Most submissions agreed that diversification within other regions outside of Auckland is important. However, the policy levers should not limit international students who prefer to study in Auckland. This should also not mean that Auckland does not have the opportunity to continue to grow their international education offerings. 

On how to get there 

Border restrictions due to COVID-19

Many highlighted the importance of having clarity to the sector, students, and parents on when overseas travel to New Zealand is possible. They expressed concern that the reputation of New Zealand’s international education sector will be negatively affected by not providing clarity when other countries are further in the process of attracting students. They also indicated that recovery will take time and Government support is crucial to successfully rebuild the sector.

Work Rights review

Many of submitters who commented on Work Rights supported their continuation. Many noted that even though Work Rights provisions were not utilised by all students, they felt it was important that the ability to do so remained, not just for postgraduate work experience but in presenting New Zealand as an attractive education market.

Review on Primary and Intermediate International Education

Submitters indicated that international education at primary and intermediate schools is high-value. Many outlined that there are other levers which could potentially address the risks highlighted.