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Urgent Assistance Needed For Unemployed Students

Green MP Sue Bradford is calling for urgent assistance for unemployed students over Christmas and for the rest of the summer.

"The hang-over of the National Party anti-student crusade is that two-thirds of students are not eligible for income support, no matter how bad their financial situation is. I'm calling on the new government to place all unemployed students on the community wage (student) during their summer break."

Ms Bradford made her comments after Green Co-Leader Rod Donald asked the House today what measures the government was putting in place to assist tertiary unemployed tertiary students this summer, and was told that a wage subsidy was being looked at.

"Investigating a student wage subsidy is not going to help students feed themselves over the next two months," said Ms Bradford. "Foodbanks last summer were flooded with unemployed students stranded by the National Party restrictions on community wage (student) eligibility. We don't want to see that again this Christmas."

In 1998, the National government decreed that only students who were receiving a student allowance were eligible to receive the community wage (student) during the summer holidays.

Ms Bradford said a low parental income threshold for student allowances had excluded many students from the community wage (student), even though their parents could not help them financially over the summer.

"Students are the only group in society who are unable to obtain government income support when they are out of work," said Ms Bradford. "It's no good aiming at a knowledge economy, when you are punishing the young people who will form the foundation for it."

ends

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