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The Accommodation Supplement needs a total review

The Accommodation Supplement needs a total review

The Aotearoa Tertiary Students’ Association – Te Whanau Tauira o Aotearoa (ATSA), welcomes the announcement from the minister that the accommodation supplement is to be reviewed, and calls on the government to include student accommodation supplements in that evaluation.

Current assistance fails totally in meeting the very real needs of many beneficiaries and students to decent housing.

“The government was advised by the Housing Corporation over a year ago that rules on abatement levels and regional variations needed review,” ATSA national President Julie Pettett stated today. “We welcome the promise from the minister that it will review the supplement. ATSA expects that officials will also investigate the unfair method used to calculate accommodation supplements provided to needy students.”

“Recent reports that rent increases have forced people into sub-standard housing comes as no surprise to student associations throughout the country who have seen the effects of unfair accommodation supplement rules applied to tertiary students,” Pettett stated. “We totally agree that beneficiaries urgently need increases in their accommodation supplements, but there are thousands of students in very similar circumstances who are provided with much lower levels of assistance.”

“The rates of accommodation supplement available to students are based on average rental costs captured in each five year population census. The rate for benefits is based on average rents as calculated annually by Tenancy New Zealand from rental bond information,” Pettett said. “The current regulations unjustly penalise students, and ATSA calls on the government to harmonise the methods used to calculate accommodation supplements.”

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