Universal student allowance for students
Jim Anderton MP Tue Sep 14 1999
'In 1992 the National government introduced the current student allowances scheme. It was based on the idea that students would have to rely on their parents until they were 25 years old.
'This has set up a bizarre system where young people are financially better off if they stay at home on the unemployment benefit until they are 25 rather than getting into tertiary education.
'Of course young people don't want to stagnate and as a consequence they try to gain education qualifications and as a result we have 250,000 students who have been forced into debt because the government deemed them reliant on their parents who could not support them.
'At the last election, as part of the price of Winston Peters' electoral betrayal, a universal student allowance was written into the coalition agreement.
'The National government eventually came up with what they claimed was a universal tertiary tuition allowance, or UTTA. This was utter rubbish. They just renamed the money already paid to universities and polytechnics under the current funding scheme while at the same time doing nothing about allowances at all.
'The Alliance wants all full time students to have access to student allowances at the level of the unemployment benefit. This will help to lift some of the burden of training and retraining.
'In effect the current money paid out in student loans for living costs will not be expected back. The extra cost will be mainly in the increase in numbers of students studying at tertiary institutions. A huge boost to the 'Knowledge Economy'.
'The total increase in expenditure for universal student allowances is estimated at $350 million, less than the tax cuts the National party is promising after the election and is a much better investment in the future of our country,' Jim Anderton said.