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Student allowance adjustments just don’t cut it

Paltry student allowance adjustments just don’t cut it

Students are labelling Government claims that this week’s paltry Consumer Price Index increases to student allowances reflect “support for vulnerable communities” as insulting.

“We know that access to student allowances is extremely restricted and that allowance levels do not begin to cover today’s high cost of living. Students have been looking to Government for leadership on this issue, and instead they get automatic annual adjustments sold off as Government initiatives. It’s insulting,” said Paul Falloon, Co-President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).

In a media statement announcing a 3.11% CPI adjustment to benefits and allowances, Social Development Minister Ruth Dyson claimed that “around 62, 500 students would receive an increase in their student allowances”.

“Government spin does nothing to hide the inadequacy of these adjustments. The maximum increase barely totals $5 a week, and the vast majority students who are only eligible for a partial allowance won’t see any increase at all”, said Falloon.

NZUSA’s nationwide 2007 Student Income & Expenditure Survey identified significant increases in accommodation costs, general bills, food and transport costs since the survey was last conducted in 2004. As a result students are increasingly forced to look to credit cards and other private debt to meet their basic living costs.

NZUSA is calling for the introduction of a living allowance for all students as the only fair and just way to support students engaged in higher education and to address the nation’s growing problem of student debt.


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