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Maharey rejects National's loans claims

Hon Steve Maharey
Minister of Social Services and Employment
Associate Minister of Education (Tertiary Education)
Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector
MP for Palmerston North

07 March 2000

Maharey rejects National's loans claims

Claims by National that axing interest from student loans has been responsible for the large loans processing backlog have been rejected by the Social Services and Employment Minister, Steve Maharey, said this evening.

Mr Maharey said today that advice about loan difficulties with the loans system had been considered by Cabinet but the Government had been determined to lift the burden of National's loans scheme from the shoulders of students as quickly as possible.

"The Government's removal of interest from student loans has been overwhelmingly endorsed by both students and their families.

"Mr Smith has to face the fact that just as National made a mess of student allowances they have made a mess of student loans. Student associations advised the Government last year that there would be problems with the loans scheme. Those predictions have unfortunately proven to be accurate.

"Verification of Study (VOS), the need for staff on campuses, late applications, the high number of people ringing during busy periods and the other problems which have dogged the loans scheme this year have absolutely nothing to do with Labour's policies.

"It is because everyone in the sector recognises that the problems are the fault of the previous National-led Government that there has been so much goodwill and cooperation surrounding efforts to cure the problems", Steve Maharey said.

Mr Maharey said that an evaluation would be held later this month into the processing of loans this year to ensure that all systems were in place for next year.

ENDS

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