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'National' starts with 'N' does 'Nothing'

Media Release – 4 November 2008 – For Immediate Use

'National' starts with 'N' does 'Nothing'

Students are highly critical of Nationals surrender on student support yesterday. The National Party has said it is unlikely to make an announcement about its student allowances policy before the election, instead hinting at changes in the 2009 Budget if elected.

National Party spokespeople have repeatedly stated to students at various debates over the past year that National's tertiary education policies were yet to be finalised and would be announced closer to the election. In response to Labour's universal allowance announcement three weeks ago, National said they would announce a more generous scheme but that it won't be universal.

“Yesterday's news shows their past statements to be disingenuous and reveals a policy vacuum in this economically and socially significant policy area. Political parties are supposed to bring their policies to the electorate before polling day - not make them up afterwards. This is simply unacceptable,” says AUSA President David Do.

“On the issue of tertiary education, National appears bereft of ideas – delivering nothing to address students' financial situations, and nothing to address underfunding of universities and polytechnics,” he says.

Students are also worried about what National might do to tertiary education if it is elected into office.

“In the 1990 election, Lockwood Smith promised to resign if National did not abolish tertiary fees if elected into office. Neither occurred. Can National really be trusted on tertiary education?,” concludes Do.

National's student loan bonding policies show that the party acknowledges that student debt ($10 billion and rising) is problematic because it helps drive young graduates offshore. AUSA wonders why it won't make a bold commitment to stop this debt accumulating in the first place.

AUSA calls on the National Party to be transparent with the public and release its tertiary education policy before the election.


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