INDEPENDENT NEWS

Opposition argument on student loans predictable

Published: Tue 21 Dec 1999 09:03 AM
"The Opposition's statement suggesting that student debt will skyrocket due to the new government's changes to the loans system is predictable and emotive rhetoric", said Jarrod Gilbert the new President of the University of Canterbury Students' Association.
"National's arguments did not work when they were in government, and they are no more valid now they are in opposition. It seems that every person in New Zealand accepted that interest on student loans was unfair except Max Bradford and Richard Prebble. The argument that loans can be abused is patently false given the system of controlled access to loans.
Now Maurice Williamson trots out the same absurdities. Students might wonder how his electorate views this? We know the view that Max and Richard's electorates took.
The poor, who are more risk averse to debt, will have their opportunities enhanced by the removal of interest payments while studying, although there is clearly more work to be done before equality of opportunity for all is achieved in New Zealand.
Students applaud the government for this step in the right direction.
In addition, the ability to use the loan for Students' Association fees is common sense. At some campuses the Students' Association provides a service that will be provided by the institution at a different campus. For example the UCSA provides the key child care facility at Canterbury, whereas at other tertiary institutions the institution is the key provider. Therefore it makes sense to include Students' Association fees within the loan scheme. It is worth noting that the UCSA will not benefit from this policy. However we applaud its common sense".
Jarrod Gilbert President
University of Canterbury Students' Association

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