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Labour Student Loans Policy "Dopey"

New Zealand Young Nationals

For Immediate Release
29 August 1999

Labour Student Loans Policy "Dopey"

“This kind of Labour Party claptrap won’t be enough to swing this year’s election,” said Daniel Gordon, National’s Youth Vice President, in response to Young Labour's claims that National has missed the point about their student loans policy.

“Like we saw Dr Cullen buckle under pressure and throw a hissyfit last week, Young Labour’s Ms Mackey has now come out kicking and screaming in defence of her party’s dopey student loans policy.”

Daniel Gordon said it was surprising to hear from "Young Labour". He didn’t realise they existed.

"It sounds to me like some desperate election year strategy to show Labour can relate to young people.

"The reality is, though, that the vast majority of young voters have never known anything other than a centre-right government under National. I doubt many young people want to see some pseudo-socialist regime where Daddy Cullen and Mummy Clark run their lives for them - where higher taxes and a ban on drinking for under twenties are the norm.

“With Labour having only seven vague ideas for New Zealand’s future, Young Labour obviously has few opportunities to actively promote any policy. Over the coming weeks we will hear them talk more about National’s policies than their own, which is a sad reflection on their lack-lustre party.”

"Labour have always been very good at whinging about what National have done. But they struggle with any ideas of their own.

Daniel Gordon also said it isn’t hard to see why Labour’s loans policy is dopey.

“In short, interest free loans while studying will see students who don’t need student loans get the maximum entitlement, draw down this into their bank accounts and collect the interest earned. Labour is trying to overlook this reality, but they know full well that in real terms more money will be borrowed by students over the longer term.

Youth Vice President Daniel Gordon said National’s changes to the repayment regime make much more sense.

"For lower income borrowers, if their interest payment (beyond the rate of inflation) is more than 50% of their repayments the balance will be written off. Students who are still studying also get a write-off of up to 25% of their interest if this is more than 50% of their repayment.

Similarly, eligibility and entitlement have been tightened, making it harder for students to run up debt for non-educational purposes.

“Unlike Labour’s election bribery and nonsense, these are practical responses to reduce concerns about the size of debt and the length of time to repay it,” he said.


For further information contact: Daniel Gordon (021) 229 6812

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