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National tells Kiwis they’re over the hill at 40

National tells Kiwis they’re over the hill at 40

Slashing eligibility to student allowances for over-40s is proof that the government has no commitment to supporting people wanting – or needing to – further educate themselves, says Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson, Megan Woods.

“This move takes opportunity away from a group of people in mid-career.

“There are not many people who would consider 40 to be old, let alone too old to learn new skills. They deserve the Government’s backing not abandonment.

“We live in an ever-evolving world, one that requires most people to retrain at some stage over their working life, and one where people are being made redundant on a weekly basis.

“For the government to turn its back on any New Zealanders wanting to better themselves is alarming.

“It is also a significant shift for the National Party. It used to encourage life-long learning. Under Steven Joyce it no longer does. 

“His claims that students can still take out a loan is disingenuous. Many will have minimal income and part-time work is scarce.

“The Government is already aware of a link between a drop in post graduate numbers – deferring study because of financial pressures - and previous cuts to allowances.  This move will drive yet more students from tertiary education.

“Steven Joyce talks about an ‘innovation-led’ economy. In doing so, he misses the point of needing a skilled workforce to achieve that.

“It seems that Steven Joyce’s sole goal as Minister of Tertiary Education is to dampen demand and drive people away.

“He sees education as a cost to be cut. Labour sees it as an investment in our future.”

ENDS

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