$50 per week won’t solve student debt blackhole



The $50 extra a week for students is a hollow joke.

As the Aotearoa Students’ Alliance pointed out this week…

“Give it 10 years and we’ll be back to square one. A $50 boost now does nothing for those students in the future who face higher costs through rent price inflation.”

“If Labour had any sense, they’d index this increase to the biggest cost students face – rent prices. Instead, they’re promising free tertiary education – a handout for graduates – and a pittance to future generations of students.”

…these crumbs go no where close enough to healing the haemorrhaging wound that is user pays education.

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Students collectively owe $15.3 billion

Student loan debt has “ballooned” under National, Labour says, with the average student now $21,000 in the red.

The comments came after a Government stocktake of the student loan scheme was released in an annual report for the 2016 year, showing costs have tracked up while participation has declined.

Almost 731,800 people have a student loan, with a nominal total of $15.3 billion of debt.

…the social impact of user pays education has been enormous. People putting off having children later, people not being able to put together a deposit for a house, students arrested at the border for non-compliance and a perversely draconian penalty system that makes situations like this…

Aussie radio hosts pay off Kiwi’s $80,000 student loan
Australian radio hosts have paid off their Kiwi producer’s $41,000 student loan, which had ballooned to over $80,000 with interest and penalties.

Their producer Sacha French, who has produced their Hughesy and Kate show for 15 years, was overwhelmed when Dave “Hughesy” Hughes and Kate Langbroek sprang their surprise gift live on air yesterday, going halves on paying off the $80,000.

“I’m a single mum. It’s going to make a massive difference in my life,” she told the Herald this morning.

“I can look at buying something [a home] now. It’s very generous, I’m so overwhelmed.”

French, 45, borrowed $41,000 in two years at Auckland University and three years at the NZ Broadcasting School in Christchurch in the early 1990s.

She has actually paid off $52,000, but still owes just over $80,000 because she has lived overseas for the past 20 years so the interest has accumulated every year. The loans are only interest-free for people who stay in New Zealand.

…she had paid the original debt off but because the penalties are so fucking awful, she was locked out of ever returning home!

User pays education is a cancer that Labour are merely feeding rather than killing. We need a comprehensive overhaul of how the penalty rates are applied, we need IRD to actually stop being vicious pricks about hunting down students and we need a new way for students in debt to be able to dig themselves out of the debt they get into in the first place!

Education is a right in a liberal progressive democracy, we have trashed that right with user pays spite. Labour need to show some courage and stand up to the IRD over their despicable approach to hunting down debtors and the penalties that are applied.

A pathetic $50 a week is no solution to those woes and so far the only ones benefitting are greedy landlords who have all pt their rents up $50 a week in response.

Labour should be embarrassed by this meaningless policy.


  1. The real killer of the student loans /user pays fiasco, apart from the debt itself it the extra 10 cents / dollar tax (student loan repayment) you pay for as long as you have the loan. So students with loans are encumbered with a tax on their income of 46%! (33 % PAYE tax + 10 % student loan repayment tax + 3 % Kiwisaver). And no, students with degrees do not earn massive salaries as National MPs have suggested. I’m worse off than my peers for going to University, in terms of a return on my investment against my income. And no government will EVER do anything about this. What can they do? Add GST on everything and high rents and living is very difficult, and I dare not go overseas because then interest kicks in. I’m trapped!

    • Yes it was a rort of National’s plan to become a simple “money lender” of old and act as though the sstudents were being looked after them while studying.

      So they hoped it would buy them votes but the rort had to end and we are glad of that now.

      Labour must change the reserve bank Act and use the crown bank to print dollars to forgive some reasonable sizable debt that students owe now.

      Australia did this so why should we not print some cash to get over this evil rort national left with a $15.3 billion debt hole Steven Joyce did make for us all.

    • The loan repayment is now 12% not 10% and from a frozen income level of just over 19,000. If you think 46% is bad- take a student parent on a miserable $48,000 supporting a partner and two kids — next year if he or she can an extra 10,000, it means a loss of $3000 tax, acc $120 KiwiSaver $300, working for families loss $2500, loss of accommodation supplement $2500 repayment loan $1200– a total loss of 96.20%

  2. Free Education died under Austerity…the reason we will not see Free Education for Life under this Government is their signing up for Austerity Lite. Sorry, “Maintain(ing) its expenditure to within the recent historical range of spending to GDP ratio”.
    If Bernie can talk about Free Education in America, of all places, then I’m mystified why we can’t plan on it here.


  3. This confuses having a student loan and being over seas with a loan. apples and pears.

    The actual amount is $50.00 loan rise and $50.00 living cost increase plus $20.00 housing supplement rise. A total of $120.00.

    Why should they be ashamed? The rort of expensive useless courses caused endless problems and happened under both governments.

    The fact that Labour started the loans, doesn’t explain the greed of the interest rates put on by National.

    It is not a good system, and this government is working towards three years free tertiary, as we now have 4 year free secondary.

    Plus they are restarting night schools.

    They are trying to make education key again. There is no shame.

    The greed of the huge % interest caused the rest.

  4. You know what, to bring real change, we need to address the imbalances in income in the form of salaries that the bosses at universities and training institutes get paid, such as in this case (that was four years ago):

    Compare it with the salaries for employees at the Uni of Auckland (see page ten):

    Just like in other areas, in business and in government and its departments and business organisations, CEOs and senior managers get huge salaries, while ordinary workers get paid much less.

    But even highly qualified staff also claim high salaries, some come in from overseas, and sometimes we get stories such as this one:

    Other relevant info:

    Once upon a time the top bosses only earned a relatively higher salary than their workers, nowadays we have an age of entitlement driven bosses, who reap great benefits, while others are told to tighten their belts.

    If we would have less such wastage, we may be able to have more affordable services, including education.

  5. They should wipe those disgusting “loans” full stop.
    Why should our youth start their adult lives weighed down by a debt many will never get out from under?
    Why should our teaching institutions be competing with each other and spending a fortune of this student debt money on marketing?
    This is so bloody wrong!!

    We need teachers, nurses, midwives, doctors and so on to have a healthy society. Why then do we destroy their futures with debt?

    Debt is not a good thing especially not for, that most basic of rights in modern society, an education.

    Of everything done to us ( and our children and grandchildren) in the name of neo-liberalism this is truly one of the most vicious.

  6. YES an extra $50 means sweet fuck all.
    It’s a joke against all the financial pile up stacked against them meantime
    – massively increased cost of housing.
    -JUST because THEY CAN.

    Not to mention ALL the complex form filling & personal data filling required by parent(s) ..just for students under 23 to receive a tiny , less than adequate to live on “allowance”.

    • its not just students who are drowning in debt low income workers who borrow to meet the basics of life and are forced to go to loan sharks i cant see why one group should get a bailout while another is left in misery a debt jubilee should be universal not just for students

  7. EXACTLY -Janine.
    It’s a CRIME against the Goyem. BY THE PRIVATE ((TRIBE)) FAMILIES ..
    I said ..”PRIVATE “FAMILY -who have enslaved all the rest of humanity by having sole ownership of GLOBAL MONEY PRINTING.
    It’s only happened because of ignorance to this sole reality.
    ..because of not being able to/ want to digest the ugly TRUTH

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