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Minister Should Practice What He Preaches

Max Bradford's claim that Students' Associations are "playing with the truth" regarding repayment times for Student Loans are ironic, given his secretive and uninformed approach to tertiary policy, said the New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA) today.

"Mr Bradford seems to think we are trying to mislead the public with our figures of 17 years' repayment time for male Student Loan borrowers and 51 years for women, yet nothing could be further from the truth " said Karen Skinner, NZUSA Co-President today.

"All our assumptions for these figures are clearly stated in the Debt Casebook, and can be scrutinised by anyone. The model comes from the Iverson report, which was developed for the Ministry of Education in 1994. We also went to considerable lengths to ensure that our model was based on credible data from the Ministry of Education and Statistics New Zealand, and did not try to factor in aspects about which we didn't have enough information."

The Minister's magic TESLA model, on the other hand, is clothed in secrecy. No one is able to verify whether its assumptions, information or resulting claims are even vaguely accurate. Yet the Government is quite happy to hide its own model, while attacking our publicly available and transparent figures. "

"It's really sad that the Minister refuses to address the very concerning issue of gender disparity in Student Loan repayments in an open and honest way. Student debt is growing at a horrendous rate, and it is imperative that public debate on this issue is supported by all pertinent information. We've undertaken the research to inform this debate, but the Government seems determined to keep the public in the dark. Maybe the Government's finally figured out that their voters have daughters too, and that they won’t want to be saddled with debt for most of their lives."

"What's even sadder is that Mr Bradford does not even seem to know who is who in the sector, and described me as the Co-President of Victoria University students' association," said Ms Skinner. "If he can't even get the basic facts right, what confidence can we have in his other claims?"

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