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How to get rid of the student debt burden

28 January 2002 Media Statement

How to get rid of the student debt burden

Alliance leader and deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton says students are paying less for their education under the Labour-Alliance Coalition Government, but he says New Zealanders should be prepared to meet the cost of free education.

“The Labour-Alliance Coalition Government has reduced the cost of tertiary education by wiping interest while students are studying and freezing interest rate rises. There needs to be more, but it can’t be achieved without taxpayers providing the resources,” Jim Anderton said.

“The Alliance has been campaigning for free education ever since tertiary fees were first introduced. High levels of student debt help to drive our best and brightest overseas. Student fees send the wrong signal by punishing students for getting the skills New Zealand needs. And they are an unfair burden to impose on young New Zealanders.

“All around New Zealand at the moment employers are commenting to me that there is a skill shortage. Yet we are inflicting a debt mountain on students who enter tertiary education including trade skills training.

“As with the health system, New Zealanders shouldn’t complain that the government doesn’t spend enough unless they are also prepared to accept responsibility for increasing the resources that the Government has available.

“Those who oppose the student debt burden also need to put their hands up and volunteer to pay the tax necessary to make education free.”


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