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Mâori students thrilled by Labours proposal

29 July 2005

Mâori students thrilled by Labours proposal

Mâori students are thrilled by Labours proposed tertiary student support policy. The recent announcements have included proposals for no interest accumulated on loans for those in New Zealand, and increased eligibility for student allowances.

“Mâori are struggling with the collective debts of their families” said Veronica Tawhai, Kaitûhono of Te Mana Âkonga. “This is definitely a step in the right direction, and we applaud Labour for this move”.

Statistics show that Mâori are more likely to borrow, they borrow more, after graduation earn less than their non – Mâori counter parts and consequently are taking longer to pay back their student loans.

“The weight of student loans has meant Mâori have been unable to commit to working for whânau, hapu and iwi” said Miss Tawhai “The need to generate higher levels of income to address the debt has meant Mâori are increasingly looking for employment overseas and within the public service”.

“To not be able to work for your whânau and wider iwi, the reason why many Mâori chose to enter higher education in the first place, is a tragedy, and proves this scheme is detrimental to Mâori development”

Statistics show that Mâori student debt is over a billion dollars, rising 140 million dollars a year.

“Government however still needs to address rising fees, and the need for a universal allowance“ urged Miss Tawhai.

Te Mana Âkonga currently has a claim lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal which addresses the prejudicial effects of the Student Loan Scheme on Mâori.

“This is definitely a step in the right direction, however there is still more work to be done” concluded Miss Tawhai.


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