Treasury BiM out of touch
The Briefing to the Incoming Minister released today by Treasury shows a department out of touch with both public opinion and the advice and actions of Governments internationally.
“Treasury have predictably once again dredged up the failed and unpopular policy of interest on student loans. They clearly haven’t read National’s 2011 commitment in its election manifesto or heard the continuous recommitments to interest-free loans from the Prime Minister over the past three years,” said New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) President Pete Hodkinson.
“This commitment makes sense, as it reduces the barrier to study, at a time when New Zealand faces skills shortages and large levels of youth unemployment and where training is a far better investment in the future than the dole queue”.
“Treasury’s advice is also out of step with international best practice, where Governments such as the Obama administration have been writing off debt and reducing interest in response to the global financial crisis,” said Hodkinson.
“Treasury would do well to note that student loan repayments have increased in the past few years, indicating that interest-free loans have been positive for both the individual borrower and for the Government. Given the levels of debt, and the context of an already high-cost tertiary system, interest-free student loans are necessary and totally contrary to Treasury’s ill-considered position, and further increases in student support are warranted,” concluded Hodkinson.
NZUSA is the national representative body for tertiary students and has been advocating on student issues since 1929.