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Government Committed To Interest-Free Student Loans

Hon Peter Dunne
Minister of Revenue

Thursday, 29 March 2012 Media Statement

Government Committed To Interest-Free Student Loans

Revenue Minister Peter Dunne has countered concerns that a change proposed in a student loans bill before Parliament may result in some borrowers losing their interest-free status when the loan is transferred from StudyLink to Inland Revenue on 1 April 2012.

“This interpretation of what is in the bill is mischievous and, quite simply, wrong,” Mr Dunne said. “I want to re-assure borrowers that the Government is committed to interest-free loans for borrowers who stay here.”

“The change in question is purely for loan-handling efficiencies between StudyLink and Inland Revenue, the agencies responsible for administering the student loan scheme.

“Student loans are currently administered by charging interest on all loans and then writing that interest off for New Zealand-based borrowers.

“StudyLink charges the interest until the loan is transferred to Inland Revenue, and Inland Revenue then writes off the interest for New Zealand-based borrowers.

“To simplify the system, this process will change from 1 April 2012 (previously 1 January 2012), when responsibility for charging interest will be transferred to Inland Revenue.

“The amendment in the bill simply gives retrospective effect to that administrative change of responsibility for the charging and writing off of interest on student loans.

“The change is purely an administrative one between the two agencies and will have absolutely no visible impact on borrowers or their loan balances,” Mr Dunne said.

ENDS

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