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Student loans bill introduced

Hon Peter Dunne
Minister of Revenue

23 August 2012

Student loans bill introduced

“The student loans scheme is a generous one by world standards and the Government is committed to its future, so it is important to improve the value, efficiency and fairness of the scheme and encourage personal responsibility for loan repayments,” Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said today announcing the introduction of the Student Loan Scheme Amendment Bill (No. 2).

Mr Dunne said that the bill contained two important features.

The bill proposes to broaden the definition of “income” for student loan repayment purposes to align more closely with the definition of income used for determining entitlement to Working for Families tax credits. Mr Dunne explained that the definition of “income” is important to ensure that a borrower’s repayment obligation accurately reflects their ability to repay.

Mr Dunne said that the bill proposes to introduce an information match with the New Zealand Customs Service to locate borrowers in serious default when they enter or leave New Zealand. A key difficulty to collecting repayments from overseas-based borrowers is a lack of contact details which prevents Inland Revenue from engaging with this group.

The amendments in the bill were announced as part of Budget 2012.

The bill also contains amendments that revisit aspects of the design of the student loan scheme to ensure that the administration of the scheme is as efficient as possible.

“Supporting students through the student loan scheme represents a major financial commitment by Government so we need to ensure we are spending taxpayers’ funds wisely. The Government is committed to the loan scheme but also believes that borrowers need to take more responsibility for their loan repayments” Mr Dunne said.

ENDS

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