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Summer Job Sweetener Not Enough

18 June 2000

Student leaders are disappointed to learn that the Government has earmarked only $209,000 in extra spending for summer jobs for students and say that the small grant combined with a failure to restore the Emergency Unemployment Benefit will see a return to campus foodbanks this summer.

Both the Aotearoa Post-compulsory Student Union (APSU) and the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA) condemned the inaction and expressed their astonishment that a Labour-Alliance Government was prepared to standby and watch students again be forced into poverty.

APSU and NZUSA understand that only $209,000 of the extra Budget spending for Student Job Search (SJS) will be allocated for additional job creation.

"In 1998 the Labour and Alliance Parties labelled the removal of the Emergency Unemployment Benefit (EUB) as mean-spirited. We are therefore disappointed that they have not used this Budget to act," said David Penney, APSU National President.

"Compared with some of the Government's other programmes, the return of the EUB would have been relatively inexpensive - at $17.5 million - and yet would have alleviated poverty among many students," said NZUSA Co President Sam Huggard.

"Students are the only group in society that are singled out and given no access to any form of Government income assistance. It is just such an obvious injustice that you would have expected any Government with a social conscience to act on," said David Penney.

"While the extra $209,00 allocated for Student Job Search (SJS) will create some extra employment, it falls well short of the money needed to assist the 20,000 students effected by restrictions on eligibility to the EUB, " said David Penney.

"Our concern is that there will be students this summer who are not eligible for the EUB, have no parental assistance and are unable to find work and this Government is leaving them high and dry," said Sam Huggard.

"Even under this Government Student Associations find themselves again having to provide foodbanks this summer," said Sam Huggard.

ENDS

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