26 November 2017
Fact check: Student Allowance increase is not a rort
The National Party’s claims that the Student Allowance increase will be easy money for the unemployed are incorrect, says the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).
Responding to news first published in the NZ Herald today, National President Jonathan Gee says: ‘Simply comparing the Student Allowance figure with Jobseeker Support does not show the whole picture.’
The claims do not take into account the Accommodation Supplement of up to $130 per week. The Supplement is accessible to most beneficiaries, except students, who need accommodation support on top of their current benefit.
Instead, students can access the Accommodation Benefit of up to $40 to top up their Allowance, a stark contrast to the $130 for non-students.
‘In fact, students who have been on other benefits have told us that going into tertiary study has been a big financial sacrifice for them and their families.’
Gee also dismissed claims that suggested the previous Government aimed to give the same money to students as well as other beneficiaries.
‘While the previous Government claimed they pegged the Student Allowance to the Jobseeker benefit, they pledged greater increases to the Accommodation Supplement compared with the Accommodation Benefit for students.’
In the previous Government’s Budget 2017 they announced an increase in the students’ Accommodation Benefit of up to $20 (making it a maximum of $60 from April 2018). The Accommodation Supplement increased by an average of $36 (making it a maximum of $165 from April 2018).
‘From 2018 students will still be up to $100 worse off than beneficiaries with respect to accommodation support.’
‘Let’s see the $50 increase in student support for what it is - an increase to meet basic needs. Any suggestion that it will create a rort is totally refutable.’