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National considers clumsy bribe to students

Labour
2000 web siteLabour Leader Helen Clark today said that it was a sign of the level of desperation in National's ranks that the government is now considering eleventh hour changes to the student loans system.

The New Zealand Herald revealed today that Tertiary Education Minister Max Bradford is considering further changes to the students loans system before the election to try and satisfy widespread student discontent.

Helen Clark said if the government made any changes before the election, students would dismiss it as a clumsy bribe.

"National will do no more than tinker with the student loans system. It believes in students picking up a huge proportion of the cost of their education.

"One of the new Labour Government's top priorities is to reduce the costs of tertiary education by properly tackling the problem of student debt.

"Our policy on student loans is clear. Full-time and other low income students will not pay interest on their loans while they are still studying and the repayment of loans by former students on modest incomes will be eased.

"The contrast with what would happen under National could not be more stark. National has ignored the student debt problem. In so doing it has consigned many tens of thousands of young New Zealanders to low living standards while they struggle to repay their debt. Many have just given up and left the country.

"The cost of National's mean policies to New Zealand is clear: young people see no future in New Zealand. Yet young people are our future and they deserve our support. That is why Labour has made tackling student debt its top priority.

"Labour does not favour the 'marketplace' education system that National has been attempting to develop. This election is an opportunity for students to reject the current government's market education model and to restore tertiary education as a right to all New Zealanders regardless of their background," Helen Clark said.

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