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Budget Surplus Hides Grim Realities

22 May 2002

The budget surplus being proudly displayed as an example of this government’ s fiscal responsibility hides some grim realities for tertiary students.

“Lurking behind the positive image Cullen has created of a healthy economy lies huge student debt and continued under funding of our children’s educational futures,” stated Julie Pettett, President of the Aotearoa Tertiary Students’ Association (ATSA), today.

“This multi-billion dollar surplus indicates that the government is being too conservative in its approach to reducing the very real difficulties students, staff and institutions are facing,” Pettett said. “Despite vague promises, the funding of student support remains miserly. Many students face daily financial struggles to pay for basics.”

“It is not acceptable for a government, which prides itself on building an inclusive society, to celebrate such a surplus while tens of thousands of students struggle to buy groceries because Student Allowances are totally inadequate,” said Pettett.

The budget surplus is less than half of the $5 billion of educational debt that has been forced on students,” said Pettett. “Judged on the size of its surplus, it seems obvious that this budget will provide little relief from that debt, or limit its unsustainable growth.”


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