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Survey timely reminder of National’s legacy

Monday 28 January 2002
Media Statement

Student survey timely reminder of National’s tertiary legacy

New research released today on levels of student indebtedness is a timely reminder at the start of this election year of the consequences of National’s tertiary education policy, says Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey.

The research, carried out for the New Zealand University Students’ Association, spans the end of the National government and the election of Labour and the Alliance at the end of 1999. It charts the impact of rising fees and ballooning student loan debt on the lives of individual students under National. Since the election of the Labour-Alliance government, fees have been frozen and interest has not been charged on the loans of current students.

Steve Maharey said the survey, which is published periodically, sets an important benchmark that will be used to monitor the success of the pledge card promise to cut the cost to students of tertiary education. Other than superannuitants, students have been the biggest recipients of the change in government.

“Making tertiary education more affordable has been a key priority for the Labour-Alliance government.

“We have spent more than $800 million over a four year period on a series of initiatives including wiping the interest off student loans, freezing fees and introducing new programmes for students to gain relevant qualifications, like Modern Apprenticeships. For the average student this means a saving of $900 annually in interest charges and $1000 less in tutition fees – leading to smaller loans and shorter repayment times.

“National’s tertiary policy was unsustainable and has mortgaged the very generation we now need to stay in New Zealand to build the country.

“The survey is further evidence, for those who need it, that we need to get on with agreeing on a sensible student financing system which will last the test of time. It provides all the research needed of a real problem that needs solving,” Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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