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Living Costs Increase an April Fools’ Joke

Living Costs Increase an April Fools’ Joke

Today’s increase of 90 cents per week to the Student Loan and Allowance schemes is a joke, and simply does not meet the increased cost of living faced by students, says the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA).

“Students are already unable to afford the basic costs of living in a city like Wellington, and this current Government sadly continues to ignore the needs of students,” says VUWSA President Rick Zwaan.

“While Minister Joyce comfortably sits on his (Easter) nest egg, he has given us the worst April Fools’ joke”

The announced 0.51% increase to Living Costs to does not meet the real increases in the actual costs faced by students today. Rent alone in Wellington is already more than what many students are able to receive from Studylink each week, having increased by 5% since February 2014 according to the TradeMe Rent Price Index.

The price of Fruit and Vegetables has also increased by 11% since February 2014 according to Statistics New Zealand’s Food Price Index, much more than peasley 0.51% increase in ‘Living Costs’ announced by the Government.

“Students are still the only group in society expected to borrow in order to live. Student’s wellbeing and academic studies suffer as we have to juggle full time study with part time work just to cover basic costs.”

While any increase to support available to students is welcomed by VUWSA, increases have historically been low, and today’s minimal rise is simply a joke.

“It’s time for this government to wake up and ensure support available to students cover the actual costs of just getting by.”

“For the time being, I can’t wait to save my extra 90c for three weeks so I can afford another packet of two minute noodles for dinner - cheers Joyce” concludes Zwaan.

Figures per Week:

Student allowance: $174.21, rises to $175.10
Accommodation benefit (for allowance students only, living away from home): $40 in Wellington
Student loan living costs: $175.96, rises to $176.86
Essential Weekly Living Costs for students in Wellington: $331 (based off Victoria’s Financial Survival Guide)

ENDS

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