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Universal Benefit Should Include Students

31 January 2005

Universal benefit should include students

Green MP Nandor Tanczos has welcomed the announcement of a universal benefit to simplify welfare entitlements but called on the Government to extend it to full-time tertiary students.

"The only adults in society who are unable to take full-time work but excluded from the benefit system are tertiary students," said Nandor, Green Tertiary Education Spokesperson. "It's time for this inequity to be addressed.

"The announcement of this universal benefit provides the Government with a perfect opportunity to remedy the financial plight of students and I urge them to take it."

Nandor noted that last week's survey by NZUSA illustrated that more and more students were having to work part-, and even full-time jobs just to make ends meet.

"The Prime Minister has signalled that the Government will introduce incentives for people to save for tertiary education. That's great for those that can afford to save, but not much help for the bulk of students.

"Student debt is a time bomb, and the Government is blithely ignoring the danger it presents. A generation of New Zealanders is growing up with a debt mentality which is affecting study choices, home ownership and birth and migration rates.

"A universal benefit for which students were eligible would be a wonderful first step towards addressing these problems."

ENDS


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