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Labour slams Government's motives

Labour
2000 web siteThe motive behind the Government's announcement of small changes to the student loan scheme is to get elected, Labour associate education spokesperson (tertiary) Steve Maharey said today.

"This is a corrupt announcement. It has been announced by a party which only three weeks ago was saying the loans scheme was as fair as it could get. They have slagged Labour Party policy and now six weeks before the election they pretend to have changed their mind. No-one is going to believe them," Steve Maharey said.

"There is no intent behind the announcement to move to lowering the cost of tertiary education so that young people are not burdened with a mortgage without a house.

"The announcement today is nothing more than a pre-election desperate bid to counteract the positive response that Labour's tertiary education policy.

"There are significant differences in Labour's and National's policies on student loans. Labour has a commitment to 'no interest' on the student loan scheme for fulltime students while they are still studying. Even with the changes announced today, National will still be charging their students 5.7% under current rates from the first day they take out a loan.

"However, there is an even bigger difference in the way Labour and National see the role of tertiary education as contributing to New Zealand's economy.

"Labour's sees the tertiary education sector as integral to our aim for New Zealand to become a knowledge economy. That can't be done without recognition that the current costs are too high and a clear plan to lower those costs.

"Labour has that commitment. National does not.

"What will be worse is that National's likely partner in crime, the Act Party, have an even more appalling attitude towards tertiary education. When those two parties get together, the rising cost of tertiary education is going to accelerate," Steve Maharey said.

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