INDEPENDENT NEWS

Young Nats Lack of Research Disgusts OUSA

Published: Fri 27 Aug 1999 04:20 PM
Young Nats President’s Lack of Research Disgusts OUSA
In response to a protest organised by the Education Action Group and Otago University Students’ Association, Daniel Gordon yesterday expressed “disgust” (OUSA stunt disgusts President, NewsRoom Story 4942). The protest involved the explosion of 51 ‘MP’s, including Jenny Shipley, to show students anger at government policies resulting in the average woman taking 51 years to pay their student debt.
Mr Gordon challenged the number of 51 years and asked how it was calculated. As part of the scant research done by the government after they introduced loans they calculated average repayment times; the result for women was 38 years. Several years later NZUSA recalculated an updated figure using the same formula the government had previously used. That figure is currently 51years.
“It is typical of the National Party to demonstrate a lack of research when commenting on things they have done that affect people’s lives,” said Mark Baxter today.
The National Party is planning changes to the student loans scheme that will reduce this number. The proposed changes will see a minimum of 50% of payments go towards principal. However these changes are only an election bribe - they are only proposed and do nothing at present to solve the problem of student debt.
“What does it matter if it takes 38 or 51 years to pay? Its still an unacceptably long time,” said Claire Barton, continuing “as long as a student debt problem exists women will always be disadvantaged,”
Mr Gordon stated that students should consider the consequences of interest free loans.
“One of the consequences for women would be not having a lifetime of debt,” said Claire Barton, continuing “of course free access to education would be the best solution for all people.”
Mr Gordon continued to display a lack of research when he stated that NZUSA had only “three full financial members” and does not represent students. NZUSA is currently constituted of six member bodies. Of these one is a less than full financial member, and its financial status does lessen its ability to represent students, as Mr Gordon implies.
Mr Gordon closes with “... he can’t understand why Labour is not getting slammed for their lack of new ideas and commitment towards education...” Members of the EAG agree and feel that Labour ‘s policies could do a lot more for tertiary education.
ENDS

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