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Dunne: Cut student loan interest rate in half

Tuesday, 1 March 2005

Dunne: Cut student loan interest rate in half

United Future leader Peter Dunne today called on the Government to basically cut the student loan interest rate in half from 7 percent to 3.7 percent.

Tackling Education Minister Trevor Mallard in Parliament during question time, Mr Dunne said the Government couldn't justify taking $161 million in interest from graduates' pay packets this year alone - particularly given that that is four times what was taken just three years ago.

"And it's going to get much worse - we're looking at graduates being hit for $395 million in interest alone in 2007.

"The Government should be looking to cover the costs of the scheme, not making money off it.

"As I've said before, that money is coming at a massive social cost to an entire generation of New Zealanders, many of whom are making going overseas, not buying homes and delaying starting families because of their student debt levels.

"It's punitive at an individual level and massively damaging to New Zealand's long term good - we need young Kiwis working here, buying homes here and raising children here.

"In short, it's stupid politics and sheer greed on the part of the Government," he said.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Dunne asked Mr Mallard whether his previous description of the student loan scheme as "very generous" was referring to students or the Government.

ENDS

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