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Students unite to demand fee reductions

Students unite to demand fee reductions

Students around the country are demanding that Labour deliver on its promise to make tertiary education more affordable through setting lower fee levels in the upcoming budget.

"Students have had a three year breather from the massive fee increases of the 1990s. We're now sending a message to Labour that we expect the much vaunted fee maxima to deliver fee decreases for next year," said New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA) Co-President, Fleur Fitzsimons.

"That message will in part be through thousands of postcards to tertiary minister Steve Maharey," said Fitzsimons. "Students and parents will be telling Maharey that fees of upward of four thousand dollars a year are more than they can possibly afford to save."

"High fees force students to borrow thousands of dollars from the student loan scheme that they will spend decades repaying," said NZUSA Co-President Roz Connelly. "Maharey and his government cannot afford to keep ignoring the effect this debt is having on our economy and society."

"Teachers, nurses, doctors and many other professionals with high debt are leaving the country in droves, leaving gaps that can't be papered over. Setting more affordable fee levels would be the first step in fixing the student loans crisis," said Connelly.

Activity around the country includes students from the Wellington Teacher Trainee Association and Victoria University personally delivering postcards for Steve Maharey to Wellington Central MP Marion Hobbs at Parliament. Students from Massey University at Palmerston North will be fighting the "fee lions" dressed as Gladiator Maximus. In Dunedin, the student debt monster will be fighting "Helen Clark".

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