Another cringe-worthy moment for New Zealanders this week. The Cook Islands Prime Minister’s nephew was arrested for not paying back his student loan when he visited New Zealand to attend a work based conference – on education. A loan that had ballooned, thanks to extortionate interest charges, from a mere $20,000 to over $100,000. Continue reading
Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray is disappointed that, in the debate over changes to the student loans scheme foreshadowed in the 2012 budget, no one has questioned the need for student loans. Continue reading
The Alliance Party says if the Prime Minister wants to “improve” the student loan scheme as claimed, he should just abolish it.
Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says it is worth remembering Mr Key and most of his colleagues would probably have received their education for free.
Student loans were introduced in 1992 by the National Government, following the introduction of fees and user pays education by the Fourth Labour Government in 1990.
The student debt is now approaching $11 billion dollars.
Ms Murray says the Alliance agrees with the New Zealand Union of Student’s Associations goal of a “universal, free, publicly funded and high quality tertiary education system at every level.”
“Tertiary education should be completely free and all students should receive a student allowance at the level of the unemployment benefit.”
“In fairness to those who have already incurred student loans, all existing student debt should be wiped.”
Ms Murray says student loans are an iniquity that have seen our young people saddled with debt the likes of which their parents would not have incurred even in buying their first house.
She questioned the commitment of the Labour Party to affordable education.
“The fact is Labour are also committed to user pays education and student loans, and student debt rose massively during their time in Government.”
The Alliance supports a free public education system through to the tertiary level, funded by progressive taxation.
“Education is vital for the future of New Zealand and we should be encouraging all young and mature students by removing any barriers to their education.”
Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says the only way to deal with student debt is to scrap the current scheme altogether.
“Fees and student loans have to go, that’s all there is to it. No amount of tinkering, along the lines proposed by National and Labour, will fix the scheme because it simply doesn’t work. It never has worked.” Continue reading