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National should front up to students on loan changes

Deputy Leader
Tertiary Education, Skills and Training Spokesperson

National should front up to students on loan changes

John Key and Steven Joyce need to front up to students about the changes they are planning to make to the student loan scheme, says Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“John Key has told a business audience that National would “rein in the student loan scheme big time”. He needs to explain to students exactly what that means. Will it be further measures to limit access to the scheme, like those put in place during the last term of government?

“Student loans are the only way of financing study for many New Zealanders and it is irresponsible for the Prime Minister to make big statements off the cuff like this. He now needs to explain to students what changes are being planned.

“In the briefing to the incoming Tertiary Education Minister, there were large sections withheld, including on student support. The government clearly has something planned but is refusing to be upfront about it.

“During the last term of Parliament, the student loan policy was changed to prevent people over 55 from borrowing for their living costs. At a time of high unemployment, this action is preventing some people from re-training.

“At the last election, Labour committed to reviewing all the changes made to the loan scheme to ensure they were not preventing capable students from study or training. National should make the same commitment.

“Labour supports measures to chase up borrowers who go overseas to ensure they pay back their loans. If that is the extent of National’s ‘reining in’ of the loan scheme that is well and good, but John Key’s big talk today implies more restrictions on eligibility are on the way.

“John Key has made clear that he is only continuing Labour’s interest free loan policy for political reasons. His commitment to providing student support is clearly skin deep.” Grant Robertson said.


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