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Labour & Nats Both Half Right on Tertiary Policy

8 July 2002

Labour and National Both Half Right on Tertiary Policy

The Aotearoa Tertiary Students' Association (ATSA) said today that both National and Labour have their tertiary policies half right, but that Labour's is too little and National's too late.

"The tragedy for students and their families is that both parties have chosen to focus on only one side of the student debt problem," said ATSA National President Julie Pettett. "National has come out with a clear statement on reducing graduate debt, but offers nothing to relieve the other driver of student debt, living costs for current students."

"On the other hand, Labour has chosen to focus on Student Allowances, but offers nothing which will defuse the current $5 billion debt bomb. ATSA's analysis of current policies reveals that the only parties which offer a comprehensive approach to attacking both sides of the Student Debt Bomb are the Alliance and the Greens."

"ATSA is pleased that National appears to be finally addressing part of the problem of the Student Debt bomb they helped create over a decade ago. But we are unimpressed with their stance on Student Allowances - they continue to offer very little to solve the real hardship generated by inadequate financial support for needy students," Pettett stated. "In terms of student support, the Labour Party seems to offer more. They have given an indication that access to allowances will improve, but have been vague about what it will actually mean to students."

ATSA appreciates that there are aspects of National's tertiary policy which could have real benefits for students and their families. The irony is that National's poll ratings mean they would be unlikely to deliver relief any time soon.

"ATSA invites Labour to give students and their families a real reason to vote for them in the upcoming election," Pettett concluded. "A combination of National's graduate rebate offer and an increase in Student Allowances would be an attractive package for Labour to offer students and their families at this month's general election."

ENDS

For further comment, contact: Julie Pettett ATSA National President Cell phone 029 939 1417 (04) 9391417

The Aotearoa Tertiary Students' Association - Representing University, Polytechnic and Wananga students


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