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Labour "Myths" the Point PM Misleads Forum

23 June 2005

Labour "Myths" the Point PM Misleads Forum

Today in a Dunedin leaders' forum Helen Clark was asked how a student having to borrow for rent and food and pay 7% compounding interest on graduation was supposed to save for retirement and a child's tertiary education.

Ms Clark responded with claims that New Zealand has never had a "golden age of education"; strongly implying that tertiary education has never been free.

"This is an outrageous lie. New Zealand enjoyed a proud history of virtually free tertiary education until the Labour Party introduced fees in the late 1980s" said Rachel Dibble, president of the OPSA.

"In reality, most members of the Labour government enjoyed free tertiary education, but rather than re-pay it via fair taxes, they now live in a low-tax country and have passed their debt on to us. In fact some of them were paid to study."

"Ms Clark's comment is not only a lie, but is highly insulting to the country's thousands of graduates paying-off this inter-generational theft."

Dibble was disgusted with Clark's justification of the current user-pays Tertiary Education system: "Much of Labour's rhetoric today was similar to the previous National government's defence of user-pays education. Rhetoric Labour once attacked."

"Not only did Ms Clark fail to address the $7 billion student debt problem, but her distortion of history suggests that Labour has no intention of returning to affordable tertiary education."

ENDS

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