Luxon on a roll in southern visit

Christopher Luxon sampling a cheese roll in Invercargill. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Christopher Luxon sampling a cheese roll in Invercargill. PHOTO: ODT FILES
National leader Christopher Luxon used his time in Invercargill to learn how to make a cheese roll and to reveal the party’s policy to boost overseas student numbers.

The sector was the fifth-highest earning export sector before the pandemic but has struggled to regain that prominence against fierce competition from other countries.

Mr Luxon said National would enable fast-track visa processing for international students who paid an extra fee, increase the hours international students were able to work each week, allow their partners to work here and diversify the countries Education New Zealand recruited international students from.

"We have a great opportunity here to revive our international student sector . . . We want to get these visas processed and to get these students here."

The announcement was made at the Southland Institute of Technology, and Mr Luxon was flanked by his immigration spokeswoman, Erica Stanford, and tertiary education spokeswoman, Penny Simmonds.

Ms Simmonds has vowed to dismantle the newly nationalised vocational education system created by Labour, and she said having individual polytechnics once more chasing overseas students would be more effective than a centralised recruitment system.

"At the moment individual polytechnics can’t go overseas and do their own marketing . . . and so you have people overseas marketing for overseas students that know nothing about SIT, and we really need to have locals going over there and integrating that with the community — we were really successful with our international recruitment because our mayor went with us," she said.

The SIT had great success in targeting Indonesia and South America, Mrs Simmonds said.