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What about a universal allowance, Labour?

1 September 2005

What about a universal allowance, Labour?

Labour is moving in the right direction on tertiary education, but needs to dig deep to fund a universal living allowance for students, the Green Party says.

"We're pleased Labour is moving the tertiary education system further away from the competitive model we had in the 1990s," Green Tertiary Education Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos said. "The Greens have long said that we need to move away from a bums-on-seats approach to funding, and it's good to see Labour doing just that.

"The bums-on-seats approach has led universities to spending obscene amounts of money marketing themselves at home and abroad, in a perverse attempt to compete with one another. I'm hoping Labour and the Greens can work together after the election to ensure that these grossly inflated marketing budgets are reined in.

"Furthermore, Labour's commitment to a quality tertiary education system must include paying all academics a decent wage."

Nandor said Labour's tertiary education policy had failed to deliver students what they most need: a universal living allowance set at the level of the unemployment benefit.

"The only adults in society who are unable to take full-time work but excluded from the benefit system are tertiary students. It's time for this inequity to be addressed, and for a tremendous barrier to tertiary education to be removed.

"Helen Clark is on record as saying that she would love to reintroduce a universal student allowance. With more and more students struggling to make ends meet, perhaps it's time to take the bold step required."

ENDS

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