A skydiver has hit back at National's tertiary education spokesperson, who asked the Government to explain why taxpayers "should be paying more for people to study golf, homeopathy and skydiving".
Paul Goldsmith said: "Fees-free study options will include a diploma in tournament golf from IGQ Golf College, a diploma in naturopathy and herbal medicine from the New Zealand College of Chinese Medicine and a diploma in commercial skydiving."
- 80,000 in line for Government fees-free education scheme
- People on work visas entitled to fees-free apprenticeships and industry training
Phoebe Cowdell-Murray, a skydiving instructor, responded to the National Party on Twitter and pointed out the New Zealand Skydiving School had a high employment rate and "is currently on the skilled shortage migrants list".
Ms Cowdell-Murray gained a qualification at the New Zealand Skydiving School in 2015, and now works at Skydiving Kiwis in Canterbury.
She said training New Zealanders in skydiving was not a waste of time but rather a solution to unemployment.
"I left university to do a diploma in commercial skydiving and have since been in full employment, never having any issue in finding a job."
Ms Cowdell-Murray told Newshub the New Zealand skydiving industry employs many immigrants and migrants because there are not enough New Zealanders trained to do the work.
She also pointed out that while National was in Government it funded 50 percent of the fees for the diploma.
"It is the only diploma course in the world of its kind. International students fly from around the world to join it."
She said former Prime Minister Sir John Key once visited New Zealand parachute manufacturing headquarters NZ Aerosports "to meet and spend time with a whole lot of workers who are part of that very industry".
In his criticism of the free fees policy, Mr Goldsmith said the tertiary education system was already heavily subsidised and the scheme would give more money to people who could already contribute to the cost of their education.
"The policy represents a colossal missed opportunity and grossly untargeted spending. Surely it would be better to invest public money into targeting the very small group for whom cost is a barrier," he said.