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Minister weaseling out of student loan debacle

Minister caught weaseling way out of responsibility for student loan debacle

WINZ officials today at Parliament’s Social Services Select Committee confirmed they advised Government against proceeding so quickly with changes in the student loan scheme, because of implementation concerns that they had insufficient time to conduct an impact assessment of the new policy and they were declined funding by the new Government for an information campaign to ensure smooth administration of student loans by WINZ, says Nick Smith, National’s Education spokesman.

“Minister of Social Services Steve Maharey has egg all over his face. All through January and February he has bagged WINZ officials and the previous government over the student loans debacle.

“It is now revealed that not only was he advised against implementing the changes so quickly but that he denied WINZ the funding to ensure the loans scheme could be successfully implemented.

“Mr Maharey has also tried to weasel his way out of responsibility by denying in written Parliamentary Questions that he had received any funding requests from WINZ to assist in implementing the scheme.

“WINZ specialist services manage Patricia Reade told the committee that a request for additional funding for an advertising campaign informing students of WINZ calling centre opening times and encouraging them to apply early had been made in December after the change in policy. The committee was told that the funding had been declined.

“Mr Maharey owes WINZ officials and students an apology. It is he and not WINZ that is responsible for the WINZ loan debacle. He should stop weaseling his way out of the responsibility he must take for decisions he has made,” says Dr Smith.


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