Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Loan repayment threshold still far too low

12 December 2006

Loan repayment threshold still far too low

The announcement yesterday that the student loan repayment threshold will be raised is being welcomed by Green Party Tertiary Education Spokesperson Metiria Turei, but she says it is not enough.

From 1 April next year, the income level at which borrowers will have to start repaying their loans will increase from $17,160 to $17,784 per annum.

"It is good to see upward movement in the threshold, but this miniscule change is not nearly enough," Mrs Turei says.

"$17,784 is an extremely low annual income, and for most people, meeting basic living costs such as rent, food, phone and power on this income would be a challenge. If the argument behind student loans is that borrowers will be able to repay them when their education enables them to earn higher salaries, we should respect this by not be forcing borrowers to pay back 10 percent of their loan while they are still struggling to make ends meet.

"Compared to other countries with similar loan schemes, New Zealand has one of the lowest and harshest repayment thresholds anywhere. In Australia, the threshold in New Zealand dollars is $37,335.

"While it is positive to see the threshold go up, such a small adjustment means little when tertiary institutions are putting their fees up annually, some as much as 10 percent as we have just seen at
Massey University.

"It also undermines the benefits to be gained from the Government's interest-free student loan scheme.

"The small increase announced yesterday needs to be followed up with a larger, more meaningful one immediately. This should be accompanied by the creation of income bands so that those on higher incomes make higher repayments but those on lower incomes are not forced to pay 10 percent of their loan while still struggling to meet the cost of living.

"The Green Party policy of writing off a year's worth of debt for each year a graduate stays in New Zealand and contributes to the country through paid or voluntary work would also encourage graduates to remain here rather than provide them with an incentive to go overseas as the low threshold does," Mrs Turei says.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Worksafe’s Whakaari/White Island Prosecutions Are Good News

Somewhere in Heaven, Helen Kelly must be smiling about Worksafe’s criminal prosecution of 10 firms and three individuals for their roles in the lead up to the Whakaari /White Island tragedy. In tandem with the subsequent coronial inquest, these court proceedings will hopefully culminate in the creation ( finally!) of a central agency to regulate the adventure tourism sector and improve public safety on matters like risk assessment, safety guidelines, inspection, enforcement and injury reporting... More>>


Carbon Neutral Policy: Gov Declares Climate Emergency

The Government has launched a major new initiative to combat climate change that will require the public sector to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. More>>


Pill Testing: Govt Moves On Drug Checking To Keep Young New Zealanders Safer This Summer

The Government will pass time limited legislation to give legal certainty to drug checking services, so they can carry out their work to keep New Zealanders safer this summer at festivals without fear of prosecution, Health Minister Andrew Little ... More>>


WorkSafe: 13 Parties Charged Over Whakaari/White Island Tragedy

WorkSafe New Zealand today filed charges against 13 parties in relation to the Whakaari/White Island eruption in December last year. “22 people have lost their lives in this tragic event. WorkSafe is tasked with investigating workplace incidents to determine ... More>>


Tax: Government Fulfils Election Undertaking On New Top Tax Rate

The Government will today keep its election promise to put in place a new top tax rate of 39 per cent on income earned over $180,000. More>>


Media: Stuff Holds Itself Accountable For Wrongs To Māori

Stuff has today published the results of an investigation into itself, and issued a public apology, for the way the media organisation has portrayed Māori, the indigenous people of Aotearoa New Zealand, from its first editions to now. Tā Mātou Pono | More>>


Economy: Crown Accounts Reflect Govt’s Careful Economic Management

The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance ... More>>





InfoPages News Channels