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 Populism And Labour 2017

For many people on the centre-left, populism is a dirty word, and a shorthand for the politics of bigotry. In this country, it has tended to be equated with the angry legions of New Zealand First. Who knew they were not just a reactionary spasm, but the wave of the future?

Certainly, at the end of this week, the next US President will have won office (at least in part) thanks to his proven ability at (a) scapegoating refugees and migrants (b) wooing neo-Nazis and racial supremacists (c) attacking journalists and judges (d) threatening to jail his opponents (e) urging nuclear proliferation and (e) by promising to restrict women’s rights to control their own fertility.

On the face of that campaign record, there wouldn’t seem to be much in common between Donald Trump and say, Spain’s centre-left populist party, Podemos. Yet arguably, the similarities could be instructive for the Labour/Green partnership here. More>>

 
 

Oxfam: 30% Of NZ Owns Less Wealth Than Our Two Richest Men

The research also reveals that the richest one per cent have 20 per cent of the wealth in New Zealand, while 90 per cent of the population owns less than half of the nation’s wealth. The research forms part of a global report released to coincide with this week’s annual meeting of political and business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. More>>

ALSO:

Hospitals: Resident Doctors Set To Strike Again

Despite discussions between the DHBs and NZRDA over safer hours for resident doctors progressing during the last week, the strike planned for next week appears set to proceed. More>>

ALSO:

Not So Super Fund: More Burning Ethical Questions For Steven Joyce

Greens: Radio New Zealand reported this morning that the New Zealand Superfund has $77 million invested in 47 coal companies that the Norwegian Government’s Pension Fund – the largest sovereign fund in the world – has blacklisted. More>>

Activism: Greenpeace Intercepts World’s Biggest Seismic Oil Ship

Greenpeace crew have made contact with the world’s biggest seismic oil ship after travelling 50 nautical miles on two rigid-hulled inflatables off the coast of Wairarapa... Greenpeace radioed the master of the Amazon Warrior to deliver an open letter of protest signed by over 60,000 New Zealanders. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Why Tax Cuts In 2017 Would Be A (Proven) Bad Idea

Ever since the world fell prey to the mullahs of the free market in the 1980s, no amount of real world evidence has managed dispel one key tenet of their economic faith. Namely, the idea that if you cut income taxes and taxes on small business, a wave of individual enterprise and entrepreneurial energy will thus be unleashed, profits will rise and – hey bingo! – the tax cuts will soon be paying for themselves ... More>>

Liquor Sponsorship: Researchers Call For Ban On Alcohol Sponsorship Of Sport

“Due to alcohol sponsorship of sport, New Zealanders, including children, were exposed to up to 200 ads per hour they watched televised sport, and people watching football and tennis saw alcohol ads for almost half of each game,” says Associate Professor Signal. More>>

ALSO:

Mt Albert: Ardern For Labour, Genter For Greens

At the close of nominations, Jacinda Ardern was the sole nomination received for the position of Labour’s candidate for the Mt Albert by-election, says Labour General Secretary, Andrew Kirton. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news