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Vote Buying Cause Of Out Of Control Student Debt

PR: Grant Tyrrell NZ Young Nationals Chair
29 January 2001

Labour's Vote Buying Cause Of Out Of Control Student Debt

Young Nationals Chair Grant Tyrrell today laid the blame for the out of control student debt levels squarely at the door of the Labour government.

"During the 1999 election student groups campaigned on a debt figure of $3 billion. This amount was accumulated over seven years of the loan scheme being in place. It is estimated that by election time, and after just three years of a Labour government, this will almost have doubled to around $5.9 billion."

"Labour ignored the fiscal realities of removing interest from loans - if you offer people free money they will take it! In the first year of interest free loans applications for a loan increased by almost 50%. The near doubling of debt under this Labour government is a sad indictment of its willingness to purchase votes at any cost."

"The Labour government has ignored the root cause of student debt which is living costs. Young Nationals believe that it is a massive inequity that student allowances are judged on the income of their parents. It is simply ridiculous that graduates with the same degree and the same earning potential are entering the work force with vastly different debt levels. The failure to address this inequity is a significant blight on the governments of the last ten years." "Young Nationals do not believe that "free education" is an appropriate solution. This ignores the very real personal gain attached to tertiary education. The taxpayer subsidises almost three-quarters of a student's course. This is a very adequate recognition of the public good of having an educated society." "Young Nationals believe that innovative policies are required to combat the mountain of student debt including interest relief for post-graduates who work in New Zealand and subsidised repayment schemes for working in critical, and currently understaffed, areas such as rural health care." "The Labour government can continue to pay lipservice to its student policies but for those of us struggling under rapidly increasing debt it is no more than hot air," Grant Tyrrell concluded.


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