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Dunne: Student loan change move in right direction

Dunne: Student loans change a move in right direction

Labour's plan for interest-free student loans is a good start to properly dealing with a scheme that has stone-walled a generation of young New Zealanders' dreams of buying first homes, starting their families and saving for retirement, United Future leader Peter Dunne said today.

"United Future has consistently pushed the Government to address student loan debt and the crippling impact it has on this nation's future," he said.

However, he warned that checks and balances would need to be put in place to ensure loans weren't squandered or reinvested for a tidy profit at the taxpayers' expense.

"But the essential premise of seriously addressing the student debt burden is a good one and deserves support," he said. "United Future would also recognise the impact of student loan debt on raising a family by writing off a portion of the debt of parents for two years after the birth of a child.

"The Government still needs to properly address the fundamental inequity in the student allowance system: students under 25 are assessed for an allowance based on their parents' income, whereas those young people on the dole are not.

"That's why we're in a ridiculous situation where a married 24 year-old student is treated as if they still rely on their parents financially."

United Future would ensure that students are given equal treatment to young people on the dole by progressively lowering the age at which they are means tested for a student allowance based on their own income, and not their parents, from 25 to 20, Mr Dunne said.

ENDS

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