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Students rack up huge debts

Students rack up huge debts

The highest loan balance for a single student is $230,810, ACT Education spokesman Deborah Coddington revealed today.

The MP released new information obtained from Revenue Minister David Cunliffe's office that shows the five highest student loan balances at September 2004 were: $230,810, $221,054, $221,054, $197,665 and $190,040.

Miss Coddington believes students who have high debts face an almost impossible task of repaying their loans after they graduate.

"Labour has failed in its 1999 election promise to curb student debt and it appears unwilling to do anything about the problem. This is a shameful U-turn. As Opposition Tertiary Education spokesman, the recently removed Tertiary Minister Steve Maharey once said:

`I believe debt is reshaping New Zealand as young people defer having a family, put off buying a house, find it difficult to start a business and choose to leave the country'. (Labour media release, 2 October 1999)

"Labour's grizzles in Opposition came when the highest loan balance owed by a single student was $91,500, and the total student debt level was below $3 billion. Today students collectively owe more than $7 billion.

"Such escalation just proves Labour's hypocrisy. Its modus operandi seems to be: `say one thing in opposition and do another in government'," Miss Coddington said.

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