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Students to Protest on the Streets of Canterbury

19th July 2002

Students to Protest on the Streets of Canterbury

Students from around Canterbury will take their anger to the streets today to protest at growing student debt.

The desire for protest has grown as the election has drawn closer, with students becoming increasingly upset at the glacial speed in which Labour’s policies have failed to solve the problems of student allowances and spiraling student debt.

Students from the Christchurch College of Education, Christchurch Polytechnic, Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury will be calling upon all the parties to present their case. Representatives, including Bill English, Liz Gordon, Tim Barnett, Debra Martin and Rodney Hide, will be in attendance at the 1pm protest rally at the University of Canterbury to state their policies to students.

“The absence of the Minister of Tertiary Education will be noticed,” said University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA) President Richard Neal. “Steve Maharey has told students that Labour will lift the eligibility of student allowance but he will not confirm anything other than vague and meaningless commitments. The fact that he has not turned up to the rally is a sign that Labour is avoiding the issue. Students will be expecting solid figures of increased allowance eligibility.”

“Student Loans are not just a huge national disaster for students but for all student teachers facing job prospects next year,” said Christchurch College of Education Students’ Association (CCESA) President Nicky McLeod. “In many ways teachers feel a double hit of the current education policies, with loans at one end and pay conditions at the other.”

“Students will be looking to see how the policies will reflect their immediate concerns over a debt that has risen from $3.6 to $5 billion in three years”, said Lincoln University Students’ Association (LUSA) President Greg Henderson. “When debt ticks over at about $11 per second and $40,000 per hour we realise that every second counts.”

“Labour said, in 1999, that it would under-promise so it could over-deliver, and students expect some definite commitments on how many more student allowances will be delivered to students in desperate need.” said Christchurch Polytechnic Students’ Association (CPSA) June Tam.

“Students have now got to the stage where they will march down the South Island’s busiest street to show that when student support is cut off to such an extreme, we are forced to cut off the streets of New Zealand to prove our point,” said Neal.

ENDS. For further information contact:

Christchurch College of Education Students’
Association : Nicky McLeod
Cell: 021 35 36 10
Christchurch Polytechnic Students’ Association : June Tam
Cell: 029 306 3070
Lincoln University Students’ Association : Greg Henderson
Cell: 029 325 3660
University of Canterbury Students' Association President: Richard Neal
Cell: 027 276 1107

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