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National Told To “Get Real” On Student Debt

12 January 2001

National Party Education spokesperson Nick Smith needs to “get real” in his approach to Tertiary Education, according to Otago University Students’ Association President Ayesha Verrall.

“If National wants its policies to be taken seriously then it should be addressing the major issues that cause debt, namely tuition fees and the lack of living allowances. Student debt is projected to exceed $4 billion this year yet National is still content to make media mileage out of the minor issues”.

“National regularly brings forward unsubstantiated stories about students investing their loans to make profit”, said Ms. Verrall in response to Mr Smith’s claims. “Mr Smith cannot provide any evidence that this has caused the increase in Student Loan borrowing rates. It is more likely to be due to students shifting their borrowing from banks and other private sources to the Student Loan Scheme.”

“Students would be less cynical about the National Party’s comments if showed that they had genuinely reconsidered the policies that created over three billion dollars of student debt when they were in government”, said Ms Verrall.


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