The Student Debt Cycle – Wellington Leg
From Friday the 20th of October to November the 8th, Paul Chong, president of the Otago University Students’
Association, will be cycling the length of New Zealand to highlight the student debt cycle.
“I’m looking forward to taking my message on the drivers of student debt from one end of the country to the other,” said
“Cycling from Cape Reinga to the Bluff will be a challenge, but I hope to highlight the impact of high and increasing
fees, low access to student living allowances and the underfunding of public tertiary education in New Zealand.”
“The trip so far has gone well, except for being attacked by a Magpie, falling off and being knocked out in Northland, I
have enjoyed taking my message about student debt to New Zealand.”
“Labour’s no interest on student loan policy is a good policy that is helping graduates get out of debt, which means
they are more likely to stay in New Zealand, start and family sooner and get into a house quicker.”
“However we have to stop students getting into so much debt in the first place. With fees continually on the increase
around the country because of Government underfunding of tertiary education, this is sadly not happening.”
“New Zealand is falling behind those countries we like to compare ourselves too.”
“In Australia, their Government contributes 46% of a tertiary institutions income, while in New Zealand the Government
only contributes 38%. At the same time in Australia, student fees make up just 19% of an institutions income, whilst in
New Zealand fees contribute a hefty 31%.”
“Fees at Auckland University recently rose by 3.7% for undergraduates and almost 10% for postgraduates. Canterbury hiked
their fees by 5%, Lincoln hiked their fees by 4.98% and Massey University is going for a 10% increase.”
“If we want tertiary education to be a driver of social and economic progress in this country, then the Government needs
to increase it’s per student contribution to tertiary institutions after seeing it drop from where it was 15 years ago.
We can’t go on indebting an entire generation.”
“I hope my student debt cycle will raise awareness in the community around these issues and I look forward to arriving
in Wellington to talk about the student debt cycle,” Mr Chong concluded.
* Mr Chong will be arriving at the steps of Parliament at 12.30pm to meet with supporters and celebrate completing the
North Island leg. He will be available to talk to the media about the student debt cycle.