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Bill English Gets Student Loan Facts Wrong

The New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) is urging National Party leader Bill English to get his facts straight about student loans after misleading viewers twice on a Sky Television leaders debate last night.

Mr English denied that National agreed to a universal student allowance in 1996 and claimed that the Phil Goff introduced the student loan scheme.

"Mr English is clearly wrong on both counts," said NZUSA Co-President Andrew Campbell. "The 1996 coalition agreement clearly states that a system of universal living allowances will be worked towards in the first term of that coalition government and it was National that introduced the student loan scheme in 1992 – not Labour," said Campbell.

"The National party has a bad track record in remembering promises. Lockwood Smith said he would scrap student fees in 1990 and then increased them. Fewer students got allowances between 1996-1999 despite the pledge in the coalition agreement. Why should students believe National will deliver this time?"

"The National Party tertiary education policy rules out any investment in students. They are not going to relieve the debt burden through increasing access to allowances and reducing fees. In fact their policy of stopping fee freezes will almost certainly mean fee increases," said Campbell.

"Students want the cost of their study decreased – that means lowering fees and increasing access to allowances. Students don’t want a complicated bonding system that will not stop them getting into debt in the first place," said Campbell.

"If the National Party got its facts straight about student loans maybe they could come up with a better policy," said Campbell.

Please find attached the section on tertiary education from the 1996 National NZ First Coalition Agreement


For further information please contact

NZUSA Co-President Andrew Campbell

Wk: 04 498 2500 Cell: 0274 86 86 77

Section on Tertiary Education from National-New Zealand First 1996 Coalition Agreement

Tertiary Sector

I. A comprehensive review of all aspects of the tertiary sector will be carried out.
2. The Government will work, within its first term of office, towards a universal system of living allowances for tertiary students as part of a comprehensive system of youth income support that gives comparability between unemployed job seekers and students.

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