Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Campaign to Give Cost of Living Adjustments to Students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NZUSA Campaign to Give Cost of Living Adjustments to Students Gains Traction.

8 July 2014

Press Release: New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations

Last month NZUSA released information showing that students throughout the country face increasing housing costs but those receiving student allowances – by definition those who come from the most deprived backgrounds – have been missing out due to an arbitrarily imposed cap.

This month six political parties represented in parliament pledged to support our call for a review of the unjust system.

We called for the $40 cap on the student accommodation benefit (part of the student allowance) to be lifted. The cap was set in 2001 and has meant that in Auckland, for example, the rental-support part of the allowance has not increased for more than ten years. The cap also has frozen the rate in Wellington, Hamilton, Christchurch, Nelson and Dunedin.

This is different from the Accommodation Supplement which is available to all low-income people in New Zealand except for students receiving a student allowance, or those who cannot get one because of parental means-testing.

This discrepancy needs to be addressed.

To provide some background:

A student allowance includes an element for help with rent, but on a different basis than all other low income New Zealanders. However, this housing support for students is capped at a maximum of $40 per week, and has been since 2001. In contrast, the Accommodation Supplement – the one for non-students – provides support of up to $145 per week if you live in certain parts of Auckland, and $100 per week if you live in other expensive places such as Wellington or Hamilton.

Recently the National Government announced that they are going to allow sole parents to access the Accommodation Supplement to be paid in conjunction with their student allowance. We welcome the initiatives which make it easier for sole parents to engage in tertiary study, but if the current scheme is unfair for sole parents it is also unfair for everyone else seeking a tertiary education.

Students deserve a rate of support that increases as their costs increase. It’s all very well for Steven Joyce to claim, as he does, that the Student Support System in New Zealand is ‘about right’ but this glaring failure to keep pace with rising costs means that students getting allowances, who by definition cannot get support from their parents, simply cannot afford to study.

The parties’ spokespeople say:

“Absolutely we would want an immediate review of that cap. It is starting to look like 17th and 18th century Europe where the academics had to have the patronage of a king or noble man to study,” Tracey Martin, New Zealand First.

“This is a call that we support – we’d like to see all allowances available to students be reviewed and to increase the accommodation benefit to the same level as what’s available to those receiving other sorts of benefits,” Holly Walker, Green Party.

“A review of the student accommodation benefit would be included in Labour’s full review of student support… the accommodation benefit is one of those [aspects] which make the system unfair,” Maryan Street, Labour Party.

“The Maori Party supports a review of the student accommodation supplement as one of many actions to address the high levels of student debt in Aotearoa,” Te Ururoa Flavell, Māori Party Co-leader.

“Student’s don’t need a lot to get by but they do need an allowance that covers the real costs of being a student, including rent. Rents have skyrocketed over the past ten years but students still have a $40 cap on their accommodation grants. Students should not be forced to abandon their education because they can’t afford rent. MANA supports the call to lift the accommodation cap,” Hone Harawera, Mana Movement Leader.

“We need to ensure there is an appropriate level of fairness and equity. For those studying in our larger centres where rent is significantly higher the current arrangement is unfair. We will commit to a review of the accommodation supplement and the wider tertiary student support scheme,” Peter Dunne, United Future Leader.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Cap Bocage: Anti-Mining Campaign Doco Debuts At NZ Film Festival

Playing at this year’s New Zealand International Film Festival, Cap Bocage is a close-up exploration of the forces that came into play when environmental issues and indigenous rights became intertwined in New Caledonia ... More>>

Film Fest:

More Film:

Sharon Ellis Review: A View From The Bridge

Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge is Circa’s latest big production, it opened on Saturday 19 July and it is a stunning triumph. More>>

Māori Language Week: He Karanga Kia Kaha Ake Te Tīhau Ki Te Reo Māori

The Māori Language Commission wishes to see social media swamped with Māori language tweets and messages for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori using the hashtag #tekupu. More>>

ALSO:

Book Vote: Kiwis Prefer Young Adult & Classics

To compile their Top 100 List for 2014, Whitcoulls again asked New Zealanders to vote for their favourite books and authors. And while classic novels continue to appeal to Kiwi readers, 2014 marks a significant new trend – the increasing popularity of novels for young adults. More>>

ALSO:

Five NZ Cities: Bill Bailey Back To The Southern Hemisphere

The gap between how we imagine our lives to be and how they really are is the subject of Bill’s new show Limboland. With his trademark intelligence and sharp wit, he tells tales of finding himself in this halfway place. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Book Television Is Coming

Carole Beu of The Women’s Bookshop in Auckland, Graham Beattie of The Book Blog and producer Deb Faith of FaceTV have raised enough money via crowd funding at Boosted – just under $7,000 so far – for 12 episodes, which begin production in September, and will be on screen later that month. More>>

Electric Sheep: Light Nelson Exceeds All Expectations

Light Nelson exceeded all expectations drawing over 40,000 people over two nights to the Queens Gardens and surrounds. The event, with over 40 installations from local and national artists, is in its second year, and organisers were hoping they’d top last year’s crowd of 16,000. More>>

MacGyver: Richard Dean Anderson To Attend Armageddon This October

New Zealand’s biggest pulp-culture event, the Armageddon Expo is proud to announce the world’s most recognised DIY action hero will be attending the Auckland event at the ASB Showgrounds from October 24th to 27th. More>>

ALSO:

Barbershop Gold: Māori Party Singing Praises Of The Musical Island Boys

The Maori Party has congratulated four young men on a mission, who in 2002 took up barbershop singing at Tawa College, and tonight took out the Gold Medal in the 2014 International Barbershop Harmony Society competitions in Las Vegas. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news