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New shocking student loan figure

Labour
2000 web siteStudent debt is now $3.44 billion - a figure so shocking it is easy to understand why it has become a major election issue, Labour associate education spokesperson (tertiary) Steve Maharey said today.

The new total from 30 September is made up of $2.86 billion with the Inland Revenue Department and $0.58 billion that has been borrowed since the end of February this year.

"During last night's leaders' debate, it was clear that the student loan scheme is one of the defining issues for this election and Labour clearly won the argument," Steve Maharey said.

"We accept that we cannot fully fund tertiary education but we are committed to making it as easy as possible for all students to access without lumping them with huge debts. Instead, their loan money will be interest free while they are still studying and once they start working it will be easier to pay the loan off more quickly.

"National are involved in a desperate bid of political catch-up and last night Jenny Shipley showed her true blue colours when she said Labour's policy was unfair on the students whose parents paid their tertiary education costs. Labour says it is unfair to mortgage the lives of nearly 300,000 young New Zealanders when they are trying to get themselves an education.

"Act's conviction that students would use the money to invest shows a lack of understanding of the new ways of distributing student loan money. Besides, students do not go to polytechnic or university to rip the system off - they go to get a decent education so they can get a decent job and they deserve support from politicians rather than disdain," Steve Maharey said.

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