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Rankin's Response Inadequate - Students

Press release for immediate release
New Zealand University Students Association

Rankin's Response Inadequate - Students

The New Zealand University Students Association is tonight challenging comments made by Work and Income New Zealand boss Christine Rankin about her department's preparedness to take on the student loan scheme for the first time this year.

Christine Rankin, CEO of WINZ was today answering questions before the Social Services select committee's financial review of the WINZ. Mrs Rankin said today that WINZ had taken every step in their planning and preparation to make the transfer of student loans as good as it could be.

"That's not good enough, WINZ's planning could really have been much better," said Sam Huggard, Co President of the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA). 20

"In the same way that many organisations were doing Y2K computer checks last year well before Jan 1 2000, WINZ should have done rigorous pilot trails between their computer systems and those of institutions to iron out any potential problems around VOS - Verification Of Study, early on in the piece. 20

"It is also no good blaming students for applying late for the student loans and allowances, as Mrs Rankin has consistently done. NZUSA has been telling WINZ as early as 1998 that students will apply for their loans and allowances as late as possible for a number of reasons, and that their staffing provision should reflect this. It's easy to say that students should change their behavior without considering that WINZ need to change theirs," said Sam Huggard.

NZUSA and its constituent associations are currently preparing submissions to a forthcoming review of WINZ's handling of the student loans scheme, including a casebook of student grievances against WINZ.

"We will certainly be raising these and other issues in our submissions to the inquiry," concluded Sam Huggard.

Ends.

For further comment:

Sam Huggard, Co President, NZUSA, 025 86 86 73


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