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In This Issue: How The Government Can Help Graduates Pay Off Their Student Loans Quickly - Heartless Health System – A Taxing Issue - To Be Or Not To Be - The Great Republican Debate

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How The Government Can Help Graduates Pay Off Their Student Loans Quickly

Friday, 01 March 2002

I was dismayed to read in the Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association (ATSA) press release that the Government earns $410,000 every two and a half weeks from graduates with Student Loans.

If the Government wants graduates to repay their debt quickly, they should stop adding an extra 7% 'interest' to their loans each year. The Government should not charge the 7% 'interest' on the condition that the graduates use at least 10% of their annual income over $15,000, and 50% of any income they earn over $40,000, to repay their Student Loan.

If the graduate does not make these repayments (and is not eligible for any existing interest write off or reductions), or has failed to enter arrangement with Inland Revenue for the outstanding amount, the Government could then penalise them by increasing their Student Loan by 7% each year. This should replace the existing penalty scheme.

These changes would encourage graduates to work hard to pay off the Student Loans in a more timely and reasonable manner. They would then be free to enjoy the benefits of Student Loan free living.

Yours faithfully

Liam Butler
London

Reference: Interest On Student Debt Amasses At $410,000 Daily 27 February 2002, 1:46 pm Press Release: Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association http://www.scoop.co.nz/archive/scoop/stories/d3/d5/200202271346.f0ed8178.html

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Heartless Health System

Sir,

In the latest act of the perpetual health melodrama, we learn that hearts and other organs have been removed and retained, without consent, from (deceased) patients for research/autopsy purposes.

This sort of medical mayhem is as predictable as it is unsurprising, when you let the State assume responsibility for your life, health and wellbeing. Obviously the old socialist 'cradle to grave' welfare state is an abject failure, especially when it comes to life promoting health care. Equally obviously, the price paid for State ownership of your life is: a pound of flesh - dead or alive.

In a collectivist society, like ours, any illusory successes are claimed the ruling elite on the behalf of everyone, but the many (hidden) failures are the responsibility of the collective, not individuals - responsibility is avoided altogether. Thus corrupt and immoral practices once initiated, just continue and grow to become the accepted norm.

What is conveniently forgotten, by all the bleeding hearts, is that when all this started (in the 50's and prior), we lived in a Soviet style command economy, and if anyone in authority said "jump" we said "how high." Hospitals were regimented and bureaucratic. Patients (not customers or clients) came in sick or pregnant and went home better or fixed, but they and their families were none the wiser - nor poorer because it was all 'free'.

The entire Health system should privatised and left to run laissez-faire; not as presently, a big black hole for taxpayers hearts, minds and wallets! All individuals will then be encouraged to take responsibility for their own lives and health. An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure. Individual freedom and responsibility is the only antidote to the cancer of collectivism.

--
Barry Cole
Hoon Hay
Christchurch NZ

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A Taxing Issue

Sir,

The Prime Minister, in rejecting suggestions the Government will break an election promise by raising petrol taxes on the grounds that "raising the excise tax on petrol does not count, as the pledge only mentioned income tax, GST and corporate tax" proves that she was too cleaver by half in the wording of her election card pledge.

The wording was, and I quote: "The truth about tax. A desperate National party is not telling the truth about the taxes you will pay under a Labour government. My commitment to you is that people earning under $60,000 a year, and that"s 95% of those who pay income tax, won't be paying a single extra cent."

Yes, the card then went on to say "There will be no increase in company tax or GST and no new taxes either". But this was an adjunct to the first paragraph (as emphasised by the use of the word "either"), not an explanation or qualification.

However, at issue is the fact that the wording of the first part does not distinguish between personal tax, excise tax increases or any other tax. It simply says those earning under $60,000 a year will not pay a single extra cent.

While it may have been the Prime Minister's intention to restrict her promise to personal and specific taxes, she did not do it.

Now is the time for her to accept that she goofed and, as a start, at least give the nation a public apology.

Mirek Marcanik

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To Be Or Not To Be - The Great Republican Debate

Sir,

The Prime Minister, in Australia for the Commonwealth heads of Government Meeting, has calmly announced to the world at large that any move by New Zealand to become a republic "isn't going to be urgent till Australia moves".

I wonder by what logic a move by Australia creates "urgency" for New Zealand to do likewise.

The decision on whether (and when) or not we undertake this final move to nationhood depends not upon Australia (or Helen Clark's self-opinionated, cloth-capped socialist reasoning) but on the wishes of the people following informed and considered debate. This has not yet occurred in New Zealand

This latest outburst typifies the unilateral decision-making employed by the Prime Minister and this Government generally. Decision-making which totally ignores the democratic process we are entitled to expect from our elected servants.

Mirek Marcanik

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