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Government Inflicted Student Poverty

VUWSA web site
Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association President Hamish Hopkinson expressed concern today that students working hard over the mid-year break to ease the financial burden of study may be penalised by a decrease in their student allowances.

"As students are away on leave, trying to take a well earned break, I want to ask why the Government is not giving students a break. Changes to student allowances actively encourage students to work during term, when they should be concentrating on study, by penalising them if they work too much during their break," Hopkinson said.

"Where the Government once assessed student's eligibility to an allowance over the course of the year, it is now assessed on a monthly basis. Therefore where previously you could concentrate on study during term with the security of an allowance and work hard during the break to earn a few more dollars, the new policy means that if you earn more than you should in a month then you will lose the following month's allowance, thus holiday work is discouraged," Hopkinson said.

"This change in policy actively encourages students not to work during the holidays, something I find hard to understand given the government's policies in other areas," Hopkinson said.

The Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association has had to keep the summer foodbank open, a telling reminder of Government policy.

"1999 has not been a good year for students. Jobs were thinner over summer, the penny-pinching government spent millions of dollars restricting the Emergency Unemployment Benefit, which actually saved them very little, and the cost of tertiary education continues to rise,"

"This is just another nail in the coffin. The sooner we have a change of government the better," Hopkinson concluded.

ENDS

Hamish Hopkinson
VUWSA President
473 8566 or 025 549 876
email: hamish.hopkinson@vuw.ac.nz

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