Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Students Suffer As Support Fails to Keep Pace

Students Suffer As Support Fails to Keep Pace With Rent Increases.

12 May 2014

Press Release: New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations

Students are suffering as the support they are entitled to for help with housing costs fails to keep pace with skyrocketing rents, according to research released today by the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).

NZUSA is calling for the lifting of the restriction that limits the support students can get to keep pace with rising housing costs.

A student allowance includes an element for help with rent, but on a different basis than all other low income New Zealanders. However, housing support for students is capped at a maximum of $40 per week, and has been since 2001. In contrast, the Accommodation Supplement – that everyone who is not a student is entitled to – provides support of up to $145 per week if you live in certain parts of Auckland, and $100 per week if you live in other expensive places such as Wellington or Hamilton.

The accommodation benefit for students is set at 50% of average rental costs in a particular location above $40 per week, with a maximum payment of $40. This has been in place since 2001. This cap was hit in 2003 in Auckland, in 2005 in Wellington and in New Plymouth in 2009. Even in relatively low-cost Dunedin, where rents are below the national average, the cap means that rents have increased but support has not since 2012. In Christchurch the cap was hit in 2008 and as rents have rocketed since the earthquake – now significantly above the national average – support has been stuck at a level of increasing insignificance.

“It’s all very well for Steven Joyce to claim, as he does, that the Student Support System in New Zealand is ‘about right’ but this glaring failure to keep pace with rising costs means that students getting allowances, who by definition cannot get support from their parents, simply cannot afford to study. In Wellington and Auckland in particular, the total student support available – the allowance plus the accommodation benefit – is less than the average rent”, said Daniel Haines, NZUSA President.

“The fact is, every other low-income New Zealander qualifies for rent assistance based on the cost of their rent, students don’t. Where’s the incentive to move from a benefit into study, or from a low-paid job into having a qualification that could potentially move someone out of poverty, if that choice is completely unaffordable”, said Haines.

“Students deserve the same rate of support as everyone else. We should have access to the Accommodation Supplement. At the very least, the cap on the support for rent costs needs to be adjusted upwards to reflect the reality of increasing rents.”


NZUSA’s research is based on comparing WINZ data of accommodation benefit for selected residential areas with the rent per room of a three-bedroom house in an area of town that students live in, using Department of Building and Housing (now part of MBIE) data, as reported on a quarterly basis.
Data on other regions also available.
ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Royals: The Prince Of Wales And Duchess Of Cornwall To Visit

Prime Minister John Key welcomes today’s announcement that the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit New Zealand in November. This will be the second joint visit for Their Royal Highnesses to New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Tracey Martin Replaced: Ron Mark Is New New Zealand First Deputy Leader

Clayton Mitchell was the successful candidate for the Associate Whip position. Winston Peters was re-elected as Leader by the Caucus. Ron Mark was elected as the Deputy Leader with effect from 10am, Friday, 3rd July. More>>

ALSO:

Rebuild Rebrand: "Regenerate Christchurch" To Replace CERA

The regeneration of Christchurch will be the city’s focus for the next five years as local leadership progressively takes control of the rebuild, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

ALSO:

Nauru: Scholars Urge Minister To Act On Deteriorating Democracy

“Since the 2013 election in Nauru, there has been a series of disturbing developments on the islands that indicate a severe deterioration in the state of its parliamentary democracy and in the rule of law,” say the scholars. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: NZ Begins Presidency Of UN Security Council

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed the start of New Zealand’s month-long Presidency of the United Nations Security Council in New York. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Cash For Charter Schools, Mould For State Schools

“Recently released financial statements show the Whangarei charter school He Puna Marama received $3.9 million in government funding to the end of last year. Yet their audited accounts show they only spent $1.4 million on education, leaving almost $2.5 million over two years unaccounted for." More>>

ALSO:

Kiwirail Plans Shift From Electric: National Urged Not To Take Backwards Step

The National Government shouldn’t drag New Zealand backwards by replacing its climate friendly electric trains with carbon-polluting diesel trains, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Capital Connection:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news