When you're a hammer every problem looks like a nail. The government is run by people who come from a background in banking and running commercial businesses, and they see everything in NZ as an asset with a particular value. This currently includes education.
The terminology relating to education has recently changed. Tertiary education is no longer "funded" by the government - instead the providers have money "invested" in them. This terminology change is actually pretty frightening as it indicates the depth of the mind-set switch to economical (commercial) rather than educational values.
Being in tertiary education myself, I could go into great detail about some of the negative repercussions of the current policy changes on students and staff, suffice to say it's now become about survival of the fittest, micromanagement by the govt, and about cutting costs but somehow also improving student results with dwindling resources. Ah yes - more value to the government! Er, taxpayer.
It's really quite sad how the once-lauded NZ tertiary education system is being gradually eroded to being just another business that meets a particular economic need.
No longer does education seem to be about big-picture stuff like improving humanity, expanding knowledge and improving the quality of people's lives through education (except where it's politically apt). It's not about exploring culture and innovation (except marketable innovation).
I think the government is just selling our assets once more, but this time it's our education system, and they're doing it piecemeal so the public doesn't really notice.