10 Years And $5 Billion - Too Long And Too Much
10 Years And $5 Billion - Far Too Long And Far Too Much
Green MP Nandor Tanczos today said 10 years of the student loan scheme had gone a long way towards destroying the economic future of many young New Zealanders, with student debt topping the $5 billion mark.
Nandor said the Greens advocated a universal student allowance introduced at the same rate as the unemployment benefit as a logical first step in phasing out the loan scheme.
"Supporting students who want to learn instead of punishing them will reduce the debt burden hanging around the necks of our graduates and encourage our young people to stay in New Zealand and contribute to the economy.
"This would also encourage people into higher education instead of discouraging them with a lifetime of debt with compounding interest."
Nandor urged the Government to fundamentally rethink the entire scheme, as Tony Blair has undertaken in the UK.
"The problems in both Britain and New Zealand are essentially the same - the up-front course costs are too high. The student loans scheme is a barrier to study that saddles people with debt for their working lives," Nandor said.
"Tertiary education was one of the biggest issues in the last election. Since then the fundamental problems facing students in this country have not been faced."
Nandor is currently on a speaking tour of tertiary institutions all over the country during their Orientation weeks.
"On my travels one thing is obvious - neither students nor the economy can afford another 10 years of the student loans scheme."