Students Applaud Greens Summer Support Initiative
Students today described a Green Party Bill on student summer income support as a litmus test of the Government’s commitment to remove unjust and discriminatory policies left by the previous Government.
Student leaders say they are delighted that the Social Services (Work Testing and Community Wage) Amendment Bill has been drawn from the ballot, which, among other things, would restore universal access to the student community wage.
Since a cabinet decision by the National Party in 1998, only those students who are eligible for student allowances (around 35% of students) during term time qualified for summer income support.
“The move was a draconian one, and it meant that students were the only group in society that had no back-up if they were unable to find to find work or had no other means of support,” said Sam Huggard, New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA) Co-President.
“Alliance and Labour’s cries of outrage at the National Party cutback were deafening in Opposition, yet now in Government they seem to have forgotten about student summer hardship. We are relieved that the there is at least one party that remembers,” said David Penney, National President of the Aotearoa Post-compulsory Student Union (APSU).
“We hope both Government parties, but especially the Alliance, will remember the pledges they made to students and ensure that the Bill is examined by a Select Committee,” said Sam Huggard.
“At the very least we expect the Government to allow this Bill to be debated at Select Committee. To do otherwise would smack of hypocrisy and would be a slap in the face to those students who are forced to rely on foodbanks and hardship grants to make do over summer,” said David Penney.
“Senior members of the Government, including the Minister of Finance, Michael Cullen, are on record decrying the move. This is their chance to keep their word,” concluded Sam Huggard.