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Major debt crisis continues to grow

Major debt crisis continues to grow

A recent report into debt is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ says the Aotearoa Tertiary Students’ Association.

“It is great to see other organisations, in this case the NZ Council of Christian Services, look at the impact of debt on low income families. The government can no longer ignore the warning signs that are now evident in society - the increase in the number of New Zealanders turning to crisis centres, food banks and budgeting services are just the tip of the iceberg.

The student loan scheme has created a generation of people in debt, there has been over a decade of people borrowing what amounts to fortunes in student loans without any consideration by government on the economic repercussions of that debt or the effect it can have on individual’s ability to bring up a family.

The problems with debt can only get worse in New Zealand until the government stops assuming that the student loan scheme is, or ever was been, a ‘good idea’.

There has been no investigation or research into the impact of shifting national debt onto individuals, apart from ideologically driven arguments about the public versus private good of education. for example, there has been no attempt to extend that argument into the development of social policy which address student loan debt on the basis of costs and benefits to the wider community.

“A necessary first step in the process of reducing the harm student loans generate in our society is to widen access to student allowances,” Julie Pettett President of ATSA said. “Students are the only people in society who are forced into debt in order to sleep and eat. This is a huge injustice which the government must address. Six billion dollars of student debt is socially unsustainable.”

ATSA welcomes studies from other groups who deal with the real impact on individuals and families of government policy.

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