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Rising tertiary fees a National-Act stealth tax

2000 web siteLabour Leader Helen Clark said today that steep rises in tertiary fees showed just how National-Act policies were impacting on New Zealand students and their families.

Helen Clark is addressing Auckland College of Education students today.

"Canterbury University has already announced a 30 per cent rise in its fees. Auckland is expected to announce today that its fees will rise by an average of 11 per cent. Victoria students are facing an average rise of 15 per cent.

"These sharply rising fees are a stealth tax on New Zealand students and their families. National and Act want to reduce the government's share of tertiary education costs even further, loading them instead on to students and their families.

"Families are facing the huge costs of user pays in education, the insecurity of a failing health system and the doubts over the future of New Zealand Superannuation.

"This is the other side of the tax cuts - which in the end do not compensate for the reductions in public spending.

"In contrast, Labour is committed to reducing the costs of tertiary education. Tertiary costs must be brought under control. Our aim is to stabilise fees and then to work with the institutions on bringing them down over time.

"Labour will also tackle the growing burden of student debt. Students want a fair go. They do not get it when interest is charged from the minute they take out a loan, which then accumulates over the course of their studying.

"With Labour, full-time and other low income students will not pay any interest on their loans while they are studying. The repayment terms will also be changed to assist students in work repay their loan.

"Under Labour, students and their families will get a fair deal. We believe that education is a public good, and will invest in it for the good of the whole country," Helen Clark said.

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