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National plan to cut medical student loans only

Alliance Party media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday 30 May 2008

Alliance tertiary education spokesperson Richard Mitchell says that Opposition leader John Key is right to be concerned about the number of qualified New Zealanders leaving the country, but the idea of bonding students shows that National is not serious about dealing with the issue.

If John Key was serious about "the number of young graduates that are completing their qualification here in New Zealand and leaving," then he would do more than bond them to a rural area, says Mr Mitchell.

"New Zealand's major hospitals are having major problems finding and keeping qualified and experienced doctors, and insisting that they go to a rural area will only make matters worse."

Mr Mitchell says the Alliance policy is to wipe all loans and fees for all students, not just Doctors.

"If New Zealand's new doctors were not faced with massive loans, loan repayments and were paid a decent wage then they would be less likely to leave our shores."

Mr Mitchell says the Alliance is prepared to make doctor's consultations and prescriptions free.

"Only the Alliance is committed to keeping New Zealand's remaining rural hospitals open. The only way to do this is to ensure our doctors do not leave because of heavy loans, low pay and excessive workloads."

Education should be free. Healthcare should be free. Only the Alliance is prepared to make the necessary investment to make this a reality.


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