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Government in trouble over tertiary policy

Government in trouble over tertiary policy

The Government has once again dismissed the plight of students with its defence of the student loans scheme in Parliament today, said Green MP Nandor Tanczos.

Answering questions in the House, tertiary education minister Steve Maharey announced a $2.6 billion decrease in forecasted student loan debt for 2020 - simultaneously with a student occupation of the Massey University Registry in Palmerston North. This followed similar action at Victoria University last week.

"The student occupations highlight the level of anger and desperation at the Government's refusal to act on the major causes of the student loan crisis," said Nandor, the Green spokesperson for Tertiary Education.

"The Minister thinks that because the protest involves 20 students from a roll of 9,400 it is an endorsement of Government policy.

"That response belittles the depth of feeling on campuses across the country.

"The Green Party offers its support to students trying to point it out to the Minister."

Nandor said the Minister's claim that forecasted debt to 2020 has fallen by $2.6 billion from an estimated $17 billion forecasted last year was nothing to be proud about.

"It doesn't matter which way the Minister tries to spin it, student loan debt is spiralling up while the hopes of the current generation of students plummet," said Nandor.

"Student debt has doubled to $6 billion, and will be near $7 billion by the time students return next year.

"I urge Mr Maharey to have a serious think about the effects of his Government's lack of real action on student loans and give tertiary students a good reason to come back to school next year."

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