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

 


Over 40’s Cop an Unfair Deal

Over 40’s Cop an Unfair Deal

19 June 2014

Waiariki Institute of Technology Students’ Association

Changes to the student loan scheme in 2013 reduced the number of weeks students aged over 40 can receive a student allowance for: from 200 weeks to 120. The Waiariki Institute of Technology Students’ Association (WITSA) President Richard Williams says “these changes are discriminatory and are locking New Zealanders out of an education”.

“This Government has made indiscriminate cuts to support for mature students who are desperately in need of retraining and up-skilling. The most abhorrent part about these changes is their retrospective nature, people who made study choices decades ago cannot have known they were using up their 120 weeks. Policy changes need to be forward looking, we should not create laws which penalise people for decisions made in the past”, says Williams.

“It isn’t good enough to say, as the Minister has, that once the 120 weeks have expired students can borrow. Students who borrow to pay the most basic necessities carry that debt for the rest of their lives, and should not have to borrow to live.

“If you receive a student allowance you are entitled to receive $210.88 a week but if you are receiving the living costs (and later have to repay this) you are entitled to receive $175.96 per week. A $40 a week difference can make a huge difference for students who often have to choose between a warm home or a full belly. In 2000, a student was able to borrow $150 per week, even using modest inflation calculators the present day amount you can borrow of $175.96 falls well below the minimum of what is needed to meet the most basic living costs. A recent longitudinal study showed that 15 percent of students are living in extreme financial distress and can’t meet the most basic housing, transport and food costs.

“If you are over 25 and receiving an unemployment benefit you are eligible to receive a $209.06 per week. But if you are over 40, looking to up-skill but have hit your 120 week cap on allowances you are in an impossible situation. You forfeit receiving a benefit to having to borrow each week at an amount less than what you were receiving earlier.

“In addition, since 2011, students aged over 55 have been unable to access student loans for weekly living costs or course-related costs. This is particularly harmful for students moving off a benefit as they are unlikely to have personal savings. Without access to the course related costs it is almost impossible to recent beneficiaries meet upfront course costs.

“The tertiary system needs better levers to encourage our beneficiaries to get into learning. If the Government is sincere about training and up-skilling people so they are able to move off the benefit and into work, the system needs to recognise the public good of education and increase the opportunity for mature learners to access education”, says Williams.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Greens: Russel Norman To Stand Down As Co-Leader

Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman has announced today that he will stand down as leader at the party’s Annual General Meeting in May. Dr Norman will remain as Co-leader and retain his finance and climate change portfolios until the AGM.

“After nearly a decade as Co-leader, now is a good time to find a new challenge for myself, and to spend more time with my family” said Dr Norman.

“This is my ninth year as Co-leader and I think it’s time for a change. Now is a good time for new leadership for the Party. My replacement will start from a strengthened base and will have a full parliamentary term to establish himself in the role and take the Greens into government in 2017." More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Eleanor Catton Rumpus

If anyone was in doubt about the accuracy of the comments made in India by Eleanor Catton, the reaction from some quarters here at home has gone a long way to proving her point… More>>

ALSO:

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing: John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider. The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news