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


NZUSA 'Not Achieved' on Cost of Student Debt

NZUSA 'Not Achieved' on Cost of Student Debt


Responding to NZUSA President Daniel Haines’ claim the cost to taxpayers of forgiving student debt is only $8 billion, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben Craven says:

“Mr Haines' quoted figures might hold more credibility if he wasn't contradicted by his organisation's own homepage."

"Treasury's PREFU document shows that student debt has risen from the $13.5 billion to $14.2 billion. The $13.5 billion figure is quoted on the NZUSA's homepage."

"It’s a nice try by the NZUSA to use a discounted value, but the fact remains that forgiving student debt would cost $8,374 per household.”

“In addition Mr Haines claims that repaying a debt is a tax. In fact, the tax is on the middle income earners who pay the interest on his degree, while he reaps the rewards of a subsidised tertiary education.”

“A student loan represents a choice made by an individual to accrue debt in the short term in order to better their employment prospects in the long term and, in turn, their earning potential. As ridiculous as the suggestion that all student debt would be wiped, is NZUSA's inference that Kiwis' mortgages, hire purchase payments and monthly credit card bills are taxes too.”

Q & A

What’s the difference between the $8 billion and $14.2 billion value of student loan debt?

The lower figure is the ‘fair value’ (or the recoverable amount) used in the government’s accounts for the value of the student loan book. It fluctuates with policy settings and includes, for example, the discount due to the fact that students are only forced to pay the money back as they can afford it. The current year and forward estimates for both the outstanding debt and the fair value are given on page 101 (note 13) of the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update. More comprehensive information on Student Loans, including nominal debt and carrying value are available from the Ministry of Education website:

Media are also welcome to contact Dr Michael Dunn of Economic and Fiscal Consulting Limited, whom the Taxpayers’ Union has engaged to provide independent advice for theTaxpayers’ Union ‘Bribe-O-Meter'.

Why did the taxpayers' Union use the $14.2 figure?

$14.2 billion is the estimated nominal value (including accrued interest) of all student loan borrowings. It is the figure that the NZUSA usually use in publicly and advocacy for 'the burden of debt'. The amount represents $8,374 per household.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Gordon Campbell: Best New Music Of 2017

Any ‘best of list’ has to be an exercise in wishful thinking, given the splintering of everyone’s listening habits... But maybe… it could be time for the re-discovery of the lost art of listening to an entire album, all the way through. Just putting that idea out there. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Ten x Ten - One Hundred of Te Papa's Best-Loved Art Works

An idiosyncratic selection by ten art curators, each of whom have chosen ten of their favourite works. Handsomely illustrated, their choices are accompanied by full-page colour prints and brief descriptions of the work, explaining in straightforward and approachable language why it is of historical, cultural, or personal significance. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Portacom City - Reporting On Canterbury Earthquakes

In Portacom City Paul Gorman describes his own deeply personal story of working as a journalist during the quakes, while also speaking more broadly about the challenges that confront reporters at times of crisis. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Christopher Pugsley’s The Camera in the Crowd - Filming in New Zealand Peace and War 1895-1920

Pugsley brings to life 25 exhilarating years of film making and picture screening in a sumptuously illustrated hardback published by Oratia that tells the story through surviving footage unearthed from the national film archives. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland