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Fight looms over fees, warns Nandor

Fight looms over fees, warns Nandor

Green MP Nandor Tanczos said today that the Government risked growing resentment if it continued to neglect the plight of tertiary students in New Zealand.

Nandor, the Green Tertiary Education spokesperson, warned that today's planned mass protest in Christchurch might be a sign of things to come.

"Many students in New Zealand are realising that the Government that they voted for has done little to improve their situation after nearly four years in power," said Nandor.

"Tens of thousands of students marched, occupied and demonstrated during the 1990s to protest against the tertiary sector reforms that left many of them saddled with debts they will never see the end of.

Nandor said he would be very concerned if the student fee maxima, to be set in this week's budget announcement, was higher than the existing fee levels.

"The Tertiary Reform Bill, passed only with the Greens support, gave the Government the power to regulate tertiary fees. It would be totally contrary to the spirit of the bill if the fee maxima was set to a level that allowed fees to actually increase.

Nandor welcomed the inclusion of 16 and 17 year-olds to student allowance eligibility but said the Government was progressing painfully slow on the issues most important to students.

"This Government has promised much for students but delivered little. A generation of New Zealanders owe more than $5 billion of student debt and the absence of a universal student allowance has forced thousands to live below the poverty line.

"The Labour Party promised in the past to introduce a universal student allowance and initiate a student loan payment scheme that would match, dollar for dollar, lump-sum payments over $1000.

"I give my support to those students marching today to remind the Government not to take student support for granted."

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