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24 Years Old and No Rights

15 July 2002

An 18 year old New Zealander can move out of home, vote, drink and die for their country. However, their eligibility to receive a student allowance will be means tested on their parents' income until they are 25. The Aotearoa Tertiary Students' Association (ATSA) is concerned at the number of students who are not eligible to receive an allowance, despite the fact that their parents do not have the money to help, all because of a draconian rule that considers them dependant children until the age of 25.

"Parents cannot receive welfare support for children once they reach 18, because they are considered by the government to be independent of their parents at this age," said Julie Pettett, President of ATSA. "There is no fair argument to support the student allowance threshold being higher than 18, let alone at age 25."

"Sadly, many of those who do not receive a student allowance are left with no choice but to borrow money through the Student Loan Scheme to pay for basic necessities such as food and rent," said Pettett. "The government considers them old enough to incur debts of thousand of dollars but not to be treated as adults when it comes to allowances."

"Why should parents be forced to try and support their children long after they have left their care and responsibility? The government is yet to answer this question." 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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