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The Debt Collector Cometh

The Debt Collector Cometh

The Students of Aotearoa New Zealand are demanding $156,081 in outstanding student debt from five senior National Ministers. Given the IRD’s new power to arrest overseas-based defaulters, students would hate for our beloved Prime Minister to be arrested at Auckland Airport on the way back from Hawaii. To avoid any potential embarrassment with the press, we have kindly calculated the amount owing from each of the following ministers.

John Key, having studied a Bachelor of Commerce at University of Canterbury, paid nothing for his degree. If he did the same degree today at UC, it would cost him $17,013. $29,613 is what Bill English would owe if he did his Bachelor of Commerce (Otago) and Bachelor of Arts (Vic) today. The Honourable Tertiary Education Minister, Steven Joyce, having failed to get into vet school owes $17,853.60. His Bachelor of Science (Zoology) from Massey cost him nothing.

Judith "Crusher" Collins has burdened taxpayers with a $36,123.40 student debt. Although Ms Collins managed to get her LLB at Auckland done before fees were introduced, she had to pay $5,516 ($8,932.57 in inflation-adjusted terms) to study her Masters in Taxation Studies over four years at UoA. If she did that same LLM today, she would have to pay an extra $7,123.43 and her student loan eligibility would end halfway through her LLM--thanks to her future National party leadership rival, Steven Joyce.

Finally, Hekia Parata would have accumulated the most debt from her stint at Waikato. Having completed a BA and an MA at Waikato before 1989, the Education Minister paid nothing for her education. Today, her BA would cost $16,143 and her MA $39,335, totaling up to $55,478.

Being reasonably minded, New Zealand’s students only expect the same rate of repayment as current borrowers. With a repayment rate of 12% of pre-tax income, the highest rate in the OECD, these Ministers really should have thought about that before slashing tertiary education funding.

The young people of Aotearoa New Zealand are willing to forgive these debts if these Ministers provide students and apprentices with the same opportunities they received. Until then, the debt collector cometh.


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