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WINZ The Target Of Student Anger

Students have reacted with anger this week to WINZ's mishandling of the Student Loans Scheme, taking their frustration to the streets across the country.

Demonstrations were held in Auckland and Dunedin today, and students in Wellington are tomorrow marching to parliament in protest against WINZ's unsatisfactory handling of the student loans scheme. This follows similar protest action in Auckland and Canterbury earlier this month.

"Students are angry with WINZ's poor handling of the Student Loans scheme so far this year," said Sam Huggard, Co President of the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA). "Students have experienced long delays in getting payment of their student loan from WINZ, misinformation and meltdowns on the 0800 number. It's not good enough."

At Auckland, heavy police intimidation of protestors was particularity disturbing. Police arrested 3 students on the march, and this was followed by a further 15 arrests outside the police station where the students had peacefully gathered to support the arrestees. The behavior of police was described as heavy-handed and rough.

"Students shouldn't have to protest in the first place for what are basic entitlements in the course of their tertiary study. It is out of order that when they do so, the police attempt to silence their message by bullying them around."

A further rally is planned for Auckland tomorrow. In Wellington, the march will leave the university quad at 12 noon.


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