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Mallard playing a shell game with student debt

8 June 2005

Mallard playing a shell game with student debt

Trevor Mallard tried to play a shell game with the figures this afternoon when confronted over student debt in Parliament by Green Tertiary Education Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos.

The Greens were continuing their student debt campaign with a series of questions to the Education Minister today, demonstrating that the Government is meeting its net debt targets off the backs of students.

"Trevor Mallard tried to swap the columns in the Government's student debt account," said Nandor.

"He claimed during question time that net Government debt would be lower if the student loan balance was taken out.

"Student debt may mean red ink for students, but it is recorded in black in the Government's books. Student debt is counted as an asset by the Crown and, as such, offsets Government borrowings.

"Projections indicate that net Crown core debt in 2010 would be around 40 percent higher if student debt was removed out of the asset column. Clearly the Government is meeting its net debt targets off the backs of tertiary students."

Nandor also pointed out the enormous burden on graduates that student debt represents.

"The total debt held by New Zealand students increased by over $78,000 during an hour of question time this afternoon. That's an extraordinary figure and one that starts to bring home the reality of the damage caused by the student loan scheme," said Nandor.

ENDS

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