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Greens enter bill to boost allowance entitlement


3 October 2002

Greens enter bill to boost allowance entitlement

Green Social Services Spokesperson Sue Bradford today entered a bill into the private members ballot seeking to boost the number of students eligible for a student allowance.

"We are keen to support the NZUSA campaign for expanded entitlement to the allowance as it is simply unacceptable that eligibility has been so badly eroded over the last 10 years," said Ms Bradford.

Unmarried students up to the age of 25 are currently means tested on their parents' income. Parental income thresholds were frozen in 1992 and have not been adjusted to take into account rises in the cost of living over the last ten years.

"The effect of failing to adjust the parental income thresholds to factor in inflation has seen many students failing to qualify for a student allowance. This Green Bill seeks to adjust the parental income threshold used to determine allowance eligibility every year to allow for inflation.

"Importantly, this Bill also restores the parental income threshold back to 1992 levels," she said.

Ms Bradford said although the Greens supported the introduction of a universal student allowance set at the same level of the unemployment benefit this Bill was a first step that she believed all members of parliament could support.

"While adults aged 18 - 24 are deemed old enough to vote, drink alcohol, raise families and participate in military action, under current student allowance legislation single students under 25 years are treated as minors and forced to be financially dependent upon their parents.

"This bill enables a broader band of adult students to be eligible for allowances, reducing the ongoing debt burden and bringing the entitlement range up to the same level as was first intended in 1992, subsequently eroded by inflation," said Ms Bradford.

"Obviously we think it is absurd that students up to the age of 25 are considered to be dependent on their parents. This Bill is one step in the right direction, and at the same time the Greens will continue to work and push for universal student allowances."

ENDS

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