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Helen Clark misleads on allowances

Hon Bill English MP
National Party Education Spokesman
23 August 2005

Helen Clark misleads on allowances

“Helen Clark wilfully misled Kiwis last night when she claimed that Labour had increased the number of students getting student allowances,” says National Party Education spokesman Bill English.

In last night’s Leader’s Debate, Helen Clark stated that, ‘the Labour Government has… also had more students getting allowances’.

“This statement isn’t supported by the facts. The number of student allowance recipients has actually fallen under Labour. Just because she repeats it doesn’t make it true.

“In 1999, 64,292 students received student allowances, by 2004 that number had fallen to 60,826. This fall occurred despite the huge increase in student numbers over that period.

“Furthermore, Labour has cut the amount of government funding for student allowances.

“In 1999, $376 million was spent on allowances. In 2004/2005 that spending had dropped to $359 million, and this year Treasury estimates that Labour will be spending only $353 million on allowances.

“This is not the first time Labour has broken its word to students. In last year’s Budget Trevor Mallard claimed that 28 000 more people would receive student allowances in 2005; in fact the number of recipients is lower than ever.

“Latest statistics show the number of students receiving allowances has actually dropped this year - from 51,691 this time last year to 47,481 this year.

“Labour’s priority in tertiary education has been low-value courses of the radio-sing-along and twilight-golf variety, not student allowances.

“Helen Clark would do well to quit fibbing and face the facts. Students should look to Labour’s track record before trusting extravagant Labour Party promises,” says Mr English.

ENDS


Sources:

- Student Allowance Statistics: www.studylink.govt.nz/stats/

- Student Allowance Funding Information: Pre Election Economic and Fiscal Update, Table 4.12

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