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NZUSA Terrified Of Putting Students In Control

Prebble's Rebels today dismissed Karen Skinner's claims of higher interest rates under a privatised student loans scheme, saying that NZUSA is terrified of students being put in control of their own financial affairs under ACT's tertiary education policy.

National Rebel President Clint Heine said "most people realise that opening up an industry to competition decreases costs while increasing levels of service. This was most evident in Telecom and New Zealand Rail. The student loans scheme is run by the state as a monopoly provider, and therefore interest rates are inevitably going to be higher than if competition was allowed in the area."

"Karen Skinner should learn the lessons of Telecom and New Zealand Rail. Privatising loans will cut government bureaucracy. The fact is, that banks are already providing small private loans to thousands of students. Almost every bank in the country has a tertiary package which includes a low-interest, or interest free, loan to students. Why not allow banks to offer students the same deal for their fees and living costs?"

Mr Heine said that "Student Loans are at the heart of NZUSA's fanatical, unaccountable campaign against common sense, and the thought that interest rates would be lowered under ACT's policy terrifies NZUSA, as it will benefit students and neutralise one of the union's favourite battle-cries."

"Ms Skinner's claim that students would be unable to influence a privately provided loans scheme is also clearly wrong. One of the benefits of a competitive environment is that students could choose to change providers if their bank does not offer the most favourable terms or interest rates. Compare this to the faceless government bureaucracy of the status quo and then decide which system offers students the greater accountability."

"Karen Skinner also says that 'private business should not be allowed to profit out of students'. Every time Ms Skinner buys new sandals or a tofuburger private businesses are profiting. I thought she would remember this from her protests against multinationals. What Ms Skinner is suggesting is that students should be banned from purchasing anything provided by the private sector - a distinctly crazy form of communism."

Mr Heine said that "ACT's tertiary policy provides incentives for young people to attend univeristy, and to stay in New Zealand after they graduate. The government should have no role in the provision of loans to individuals. The days of Government running banks in this country are thankfully long gone - although of course that will change if the Alliance and Labour are elected in November. NZUSA's criticisms show how alarmed they are that ACT would put students in control of their own affairs."

ENDS

For more information, contact: Clint Heine (+64) (03) 4779442 president@rebels.org.nz

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