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

'Tea Break Bill' Passes: Gordon Campbell On Bad Labour Laws And Poor Safety

By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port owners.

The Port of Tauranga for instance, is expecting its current full-year profit to be between $78 million and $83 million and other ports are enjoying similar boom times – but they are also highly dangerous places for the people who work on or around the port premises. At the Port of Tauranga, there have been 26 serious accidents since 2011, and two deaths. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

No Charges: Outcome Of Operation Clover Investigation

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area... More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF Report: NZ Cautioned On "Stagnating" Child Poverty

An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession. More>>

ALSO:

Funding Report: Two Pathways For Transport In Auckland

Commissioned by Auckland Council, the group was asked to investigate two possible pathways for raising $300 million per year ($12 billion over 30 years) to pay for the improvements needed to help fix Auckland’s transport system. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Equal Pay Win In Court Of Appeal

CTU: The Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Finishing Line, And Amazon’s Woes

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny… More>>

ALSO:

TV3 Video: Three Die On Roads Over Labour Weekend

The official holiday period ended at 6am Tuesday, with three deaths on the roads during the Labour Day weekend. More>>

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news