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UF Response To Labour's student allowance pledge

Monday, 13 October 2008

UnitedFuture's response to Labour's student allowance pledge

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne says he's not surprised Labour has promised students a universal allowance if Labour's re-elected, but notes the policy will not deal with the fundamental problem of student debt.

"UnitedFuture's policy of zero fees for all tertiary education, with a cap on what can be borrowed for a living allowance, means graduates will leave with much less debt," he says.

"Zero fees will encourage those in the workforce to study part-time and upskill. But part-time students who chose to also work and pay taxes are given nothing at all by extending allowances.

"While we welcome this extra help to students, student allowances are a short-term remedy compared to UnitedFuture's plan to eliminate fees completely. The cost of these policies is nearly identical, but we think the benefits of zero-fees are simple and fair.

"The fact is that course fees over time are increasing far above that of the cost of living at 5% per year. In ten years time, it will be tuition fees that are crippling students and raising debt."

Mr Dunne says that zero fees is the long term way to lower the debt burden for our young people, while encouraging people of all ages to continue learning throughout their life.

"That means they'll have more incentive to stay in New Zealand, buy a home, start a family and generally contribute straight away to the quality of New Zealand society.

"Labour's policy may deal with the short-term problem, but UnitedFuture's plan is a much longer-term solution.

ENDS

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