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Disappointment with Regulations Review Decision

Students disappointed with Regulations Review Committee Decision

Students are disappointed with yesterday’s decision of the Regulations Review Select Committee regarding a complaint made by the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) on changes to the Student Allowance scheme.

NZUSA appeared in front of the committee on 14 March 2006 to argue that the changes made by the Student Allowances Amendment Regulations (No 2) 2004, which removed the independent circumstances allowance for working and married students, breached standing orders 315 (2) a, b & c.

“Whilst the committee found, in their opinion, that the changes were justified - the fact is that by removing the independent circumstances allowance for working and married students, the government has simply further ingrained an unfair and discriminatory parental means test for students under 25,” said Conor Roberts, Co-president of NZUSA.

“We think this is unfortunate. The committee should have sent a clear message to Government that it was unfair to remove the independent circumstances allowance and only allow students to receive support if they pass the harsh parental means test.”

The government claimed it removed the independent circumstances allowance because of 'discrimination'.

"This simply compounded another existing form of discrimination by testing students’ eligibility for a student allowance on their parent’s income until they turn 25. It's hypocritical to justify getting rid of one form of discrimination while entrenching another."

"Right now the student allowance scheme says that all students are dependent on their parents until they turn 25, but we know this is not the case as NZUSA’s research shows that only 28% of students receive any financial support from their parents."

"Only one third of students currently receive a student allowance and the number of students receiving an allowance has decreased again since the policy change. It is not fair that adults over the age of 18 are tested on their parent's income in order to receive help while they study."

Mr Roberts noted that the number of students receiving a living allowance dropped to 56,806 students in 2005, down from 60,826 in 2004 and over 70,000 in 2001.”

"Students are the only group in society to whom this unfair test applies and we had hoped that the Regulations Review Select Committee would recognise that and send a clear message to Government that this situation is not fair," Mr Roberts concluded.

ENDS

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