‘Insulting’: MPs’ pay up $192 a week – students’ up 90c
26 February 2015
Media Release: New Zealand Union
of Students’ Associations
Students are outraged that the same week the Government announced a 90 cents-a-week increase to student support – well behind rising housing costs-, MPs are in line to give themselves a $10,000 per year pay hike –or $192.30 a week.
The Government announced the particularly small 0.51 per cent CPI-adjustment for students and other citizens receiving state support on Monday. The adjustment increases the maximum student allowance from $174.21 to $175.10 per week. The maximum student loan living cost payment rises from $175.96 to $176.86. The accommodation benefit, which is capped at $40 a week, did not rise at all.
National Student President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations Rory McCourt said the situation would lead to many New Zealanders questioning the priorities of the nation’s leaders.
“While MPs are giving themselves an extra $192 a week, students in Auckland expected to pay their average rent of $220 a week with a $40 accommodation grant. It’s ludicrous.” says McCourt.
“Accommodation costs are galloping ahead of general inflation, which means students are actually falling behind. Just last week TradeMe revealed a 9 per cent hike in average New Zealand rents for the year to January. For students, it’s even worse.”
“This pay hike for politicians is insulting when real kiwis are struggling with the effects of the housing crisis. Student support hasn’t cut it for a long time, but now we’re really feeling the sharp edge of the housing crisis.”
“We just want to be able to pay the rent. It’s students who need a top-up, not politicians.” says McCourt.
Figures per week:
allowance: $174.21, rises to $175.10
Maximum accommodation benefit (for allowance students only, living away from home): $40 in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch
Maximum student loan living costs: $175.96, rises to $176.86
Average student rent in Auckland (bedroom in 3 bedroom flat): $218.16 in 2014, up from 209.90 in 2013 (based on MBIE Housing Data)
National average annual rent rise: 9% to January 2015 (TradeMe)