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Record Student Debt Under Labour

Record Student Debt Under Labour

Wednesday 19 Feb 2003 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Tertiary Education

ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman today accused the Labour Government of entrenching New Zealand's young people in a cycle of debt.

"New figures released today in answer to my Parliamentary Questions reveal total student loan debt soared more than $1.7 billion between 1999 and 2002 - a rise of more than 60 percent. The number of total loan borrowers has also grown in that time, from 238,000 to more than 345,000.

"Labour politicians claim to have made life easier for students and, in one way, they have - they have made it easier for students to borrow vast amounts of money. Unfortunately providing students with this burden does nobody any favours.

"In 1999, Tertiary Education Minister Steve Maharey said the Labour-Alliance Government had inherited a "major problem" with student debt. He claimed that within a year students would be $1,000 better off than they would have been under the previous Government.

"These new figures, however, show that Mr Maharey's claim has certainly not come true. Within a year after Mr Maharey's rash promise, the average student was $1,000 worse off. By 2002 - the latest figures - the average student was almost $2,000 worse off.

"Against all advice and counsel, Labour has made it easier to get student loans. By making it so easy to borrow large sums, the Government has ensured that students have become mired in debt. The legacy of the Labour Government has been to create the highest level of student indebtedness in our history," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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