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National's Student Rebate Policy No Encouragement

22 July 2005

National's graduate debt tax deduction policy released today highlights that the party isn't serious about taking strong measures to financially encourage skilled graduates to work in New Zealand, says Progressive education spokesperson Dr Megan Woods.

"Their policy announcement on student debt does indicate that National has at last come round to acknowledging that the Student Loan Scheme they introduced in the early 1990s is a big social and economic problem.

"Student loans are constricting the future potential of graduates, forcing graduates to leave New Zealand, delay home ownership and to delay having children. Our economy and our society are hurt when debt-laden students
head overseas after graduation in search of higher incomes to help pay-down their big debts back home," she said.

"Sadly, the tight-fisted and unfair policy prescription National is offering highlights that the party still isn't serious about taking bold steps to fix the problems associated with the debt monkey heaped on graduates' backs since the last National government's failed education 'reforms'," Dr Woods said.

"National's proposal to increase government borrowing in order to fund income tax cuts that would mainly benefit those on high incomes will, moreover, be accompanied by much higher tertiary fees," she said.

The Progressive Party supports all moves toward free tertiary education, including no fees and universal student allowances.

In this year's election, Progressive is campaigning on a policy that would see the government meet graduates' student loan repayments for at least three years after graduation. Under Progressive policy, each year that a student remains working in New Zealand after they graduate, the government would meet their standard ten cents in the dollar loan repayment.

Examples of how the Progressive Graduate Debt Relief Policy would work at posted at:

ENDS

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