Labour’s universal student allowance just what the country needs!
Tertiary students throughout the country are celebrating today following Prime Minister Helen Clark’s announcement that
Labour will deliver a universal living allowance for all full time students should they be in a position to form the
next government following election day. The new policy was unveiled to a packed Otago University auditorium this
afternoon, and NZUSA Co-Presidents Liz Hawes and Paul Falloon were ecstatic at the announcement.
“This is brilliant news and will be welcomed by hundreds of thousands of students who will no longer have to borrow to
live. Student debt has been having significant negative effects on the New Zealand economy and society, so we
congratulate Labour for recognising this and delivering a sensible and fair policy that looks to the future
sustainability of the nation”, said Paul Falloon, Co-President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations
“A universal student allowance recognises the unfairness of expecting students to be dependent on their parents till
they are 25, and just how unrealistic and unworkable the current policy has been”, said Co-President Liz Hawes.
Today’s announcement finally signals an end to a significant amount of the $10billion of debilitating debt held in the
community. Currently only around a third of students receive an allowance, with two thirds excluded due to
parental-income means-testing till the age of 25. As a result many must borrow simply to cover basic living costs. The
new scheme will be phased in over a three year period culminating in a living allowance for all full time students by
2012, and follows years of lobbying by student representatives.
“At a time when New Zealand is suffering chronic skills shortages in areas such as teaching, nursing, engineering and
medicine, a policy to limit debt in the first place will help keep many skilled graduates at home rather than losing
them overseas,” said Falloon. “Finally one of the major political parties has shown that not only have they heard the
calls of student representatives, students and their families and industry groups but they are prepared to show the
leadership needed to fix things,” concluded Hawes.
NZ Union of Students' Associations
We stand for opportunity, for all.
NZUSA is the New Zealand Union of Students' Associations, the national body that represents New Zealand's students'
associations and the interests of New Zealand's 400,000 students at universities, polytechnics and in trades training.
We conduct original research, advocate to Government and through the media, and support New Zealand's students'
associations to be more effective on behalf of their members. We advocate alongside Te Mana Akonga – The National Māori
Students' Association, and Tertiary Women New Zealand – The NZUSA Women's Caucus.
Since 1929, we've believed in a society rich in opportunity, where anyone from anywhere can become any thing. We
support accessible, affordable quality public tertiary education.