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

 


Government locks in cuts and continues to lock out students

Government locks in cuts and continues to lock out students


Press Release: New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations


Despite posting their first surplus, the National Government has continued to deprive students from much needed support.

After five consecutive deficit budgets, the National Government announced today a return to surplus. Finance Minister Bill English has forecasted an operating surplus of $372 million which should have translated into increased investment into education. The underfunded sector should be at the front of the line to receive the spoils of a boom economy. However, students have again missed out on much needed support.

Student support remains frozen, with the student loan repayment threshold flat lining. “Since 2012, any domestic student after earning above $19,084 must make compulsory 12 cents in the dollar repayments on their student loan”, says Daniel Haines, New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) President.

“The 12 percent repayment rate makes our student loan scheme of the most regressive in the world. It compares unfavourably to our Australian neighbours, their student loan repayment scheme starts at four percent after a graduate earns over $53,345, nearly three times out level. By freezing the repayment rate in New Zealand at a level bellow full-time minimum wage, payments are imposed on those people who have the least ability to pay”, said Haines.

“Student debt continues to grow, not least because since 2010 the Government has made over 20 cuts to student support, a disinvestment valued at over $70 million dollars in the last three years. In a press release today Steven Joyce, the Minister for Tertiary Education announced he expects to save another $72.6 million over the next four years because of additional ‘funding freed-up from reduced demand and the suspension of inflation adjustments’. If effective, Joyce will have cut $144.2 million - mostly because his cuts have locked potential students out from tertiary study.

“Money cut from student support disproportionately affects postgraduate students who had their entitlement to receive allowances removed in 2012, students over 40 who have had their allowances restricted to 120 weeks, and students over 55 who have had all allowance eligibility completely removed. By arbitrarily restricting who has access, National arbitrarily picks winners and losers.

“By these policies, locked in in this Budget, we risk creating a society of those who can afford to access of higher learning, and those who can’t. Our public institutions should be open to those who have the ability to learn, not simply those with the ability to pay. It’s appalling that nothing has been done to give relief to this group of New Zealanders who bear the burden of a $13.5 billion dollar debt.

“The Tertiary Minister also announced an extra $83.3 million dollar subsidy for science, agriculture and some health science disciplines. These disciplines have been prioritised with funding - but not with fee reductions that might encourage more students to do them - at the expense of degrees which offer critical transferable skills. This is a continuation of Joyce’s meddling with the tertiary sector, also shown with his proposed changes to university and wānanga councils. By constantly interfering in the management of our tertiary institutions, this Government is undermining academic freedom and autonomy for tertiary institutions to set their own curriculum.

“With a rapidly changing economy, our tertiary institutions need greater, not less freedom. If the Government continues to prescribe which courses we should be teach the sector is being set up to fail”, says Haines.

In response to the budget announcement today, students at the University of Auckland have organised a protest today at 11.00am. Outraged at the increasing cost of education they are meeting outside the General Library and plan to march to SkyCity where John Key is delivering a speech.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

To date, the Opposition has continued to occupy itself with the marginalia of the issue. E.g. whether Key did or didn’t know whether Barack Obama would be present at the US briefing last week on IS, or whether New Zealand’s military involvement is or isn’t already a fait accompli.

It might be better to tackle the issue, head on. Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn.
More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Tea Breaks 'Gone By Lunch Time'

“How cynical that on the eve of Labour weekend, the National government is pushing through legislation that takes away the statutory right to tea and meal breaks along with collective bargaining protections, and makes vulnerable workers jobs even less secure." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary Education: Students Doing It Tough As Fees Rise Again

The Government is making it increasingly difficult for Kiwis to gain tertiary education as fees continue to rise and access to student support becomes even more restricted, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. More>>

ALSO:

Housing, Iraq: PM Press Conference – 20 October 2014

Prime Minister John Key met with press today to discuss:
• Housing prices and redevelopment in Auckland
• Discussions with Tony Abbott on the governmental response to ISIS, and New Zealand’s election to the UN Security Council More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news