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National fails lifelong learners

16 May 2013

National fails lifelong learners

The Government’s restrictions on access to student allowances for New Zealanders over 40, and cutting access altogether for New Zealanders over 65, make a mockery of the idea of life-long learning and will harm the economy, says the Green Party.

“Over the last five years, National has restricted access to tertiary education through cuts to student loans and allowances in successive budgets, and 2013 is no exception,” said Green Party students’ spokesperson Holly Walker.

“National’s strangling of student allowances will see student numbers fall and student debt grow, as older New Zealanders are forced to borrow more to live while they study.

“It will mean that many New Zealanders will miss out on the opportunity to upskill and retrain mid-career, which can only hurt the New Zealand economy.

“Older New Zealanders who have lost their job during the recession will find it more expensive to undertake retraining under National’s changes.

“Moves to crackdown on overseas borrowers are also unfair and unnecessarily punitive.

“Requiring unrealistic repayments from New Zealanders who may have no income while living and travelling, and adding extra penalties to their loan balances, is unnecessary.

“Sir Paul Callaghan urged us to make New Zealand a place where talent wants to live, something much-quoted by this National Government.

“These changes do just the opposite: make it more likely that students will move overseas to study, and less likely that they will want to return to live in New Zealand.”


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