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National Blunders Into 2002

National Blunders Into 2002 And Falls Over Tertiary Student Debt

"The National Party seems to have made a blunder of its own in claiming that the projected blow-out in student debt to $20 billion by 2020 is somehow the exclusive fault of the present government, advised Julie Pettett, President of the Aotearoa Tertiary Students' Association (ATSA), speaking in response to a recent press release by the party listing 25 alleged blunders of the present government.

"Successive governments have failed to look at the social effects of the Student Loan Scheme. It is a badly designed policy which has no regard for the real needs of New Zealand society" she stated.

"Opposition leader Bill English received his two degrees when tertiary education was provided at very little cost to students, and he was a member of the government which rammed through the Student Loan Scheme in 1992. Fees now average over $3,000 per year for a full-time student and total student debt is now over $4 billion dollars. The National Party cannot avoid a large part of the blame for the latest projections of $20 billion of total debt by 2020." claimed Pettett.

"This year is the tenth anniversary of the Student Loan Scheme and it is a bitter irony to see the National Party attempting to re-write history by placing blame on this government without offering any alternative solutions", Pettett noted.

"New Zealanders cannot afford to wait indefinitely for change while student debt continues to escalate," said Pettett. "People are realising that the present inequitable tertiary funding system is not sustainable. We need sound policies, based on honest research, which offer socially viable alternatives to the Student Loan Scheme".

"ATSA invites the National Party to create good tertiary policy solutions which meet the real needs of students for affordable education. ATSA is willing to help with this process. Let's act now in the best interests of students and New Zealand," concluded Pettett.


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