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Labour ‘desperate and irresponsible’ with loans

Hon Bill English
National Party Education Spokesman

26 July 2005

Labour ‘desperate and irresponsible’ with loans

National Party Education spokesman Bill English says Labour’s student loan package will push student debt through the roof.

Labour today announced that it will abolish interest on student debt.

Mr English says writing off interest on $7 billion is an election bribe on an unprecedented scale.

“This effectively spells the end of the student loan scheme and removes the incentive for hard work. The idea of an interest free loan will be too much for most students and many parents to resist. This policy will see the country’s debt burden skyrocket.

“This is pure pork barrel politics with all the wrong incentives.

“Labour’s package is nothing more than an extravagant, irresponsible attempt to out-bid National. It also makes an absolute nonsense of Labour’s claim that it couldn’t afford tax cuts for mainstream New Zealanders.

“Labour has bet the farm on one sector group, encouraging debt and discouraging repayment.

“National favours tax relief for all hard-working New Zealanders and will provide the right incentives to work hard and get ahead,” says Mr English.

National will make all net interest payments on student loans tax deductible against earned income. This policy will take effect on 1 April next year and will have an initial annual cost of around $70 million.

National will be unveiling the final stages of its tertiary education policy during the election campaign.

ENDS

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