INDEPENDENT NEWS

Student loans could be sold to an Australian bank

Published: Wed 20 Oct 1999 01:11 PM
The Alliance has revealed the government was talking about selling the student loans scheme to the Westpac Banking Corporation earlier this year and says a National Act government will sell the scheme making any changes to the scheme before the election irrelevant.
In response to an Official Information Act request the Alliance has revealed that the government was seriously considering selling the student loans scheme to Westpac Banking Corporation earlier this year.
'Max Bradford has earlier refused to say who he was talking to about selling the student loans scheme citing commercial confidentiality, now the name of Westpac seems to have slipped through his web of secrecy,' Alliance Education Spokesperson Liz Gordon said.
'Act's key policy is to securatise or sell the student loans scheme. National was considering doing this as late as March this year but has obviously put it on the back burner for the election campaign.
'Based on their policies and track record, if National and Act become government they will definitely sell the student loans scheme.
'Once these loans are sold changes made today will mean nothing in the long term.
'If student loans are sold to Westpac, an Australian bank will hold New Zealand's student loans. The irony is that Australia's own student loans scheme has better conditions, no real interest rates, higher repayment thresholds and lower repayment rates than New Zealand.
'It would be better for students to move to Australia to take out loans rather than taking those same loans at worse conditions from an Australian bank.
'Labour is only going to hold fees at current levels and do nothing about student allowances. Even New Zealand First has abandoned their universal allowance policy that they failed to deliver when they had the chance.
'Only the Alliance is going to deal with the cause of student loan debt. We are the only party who will reduce fees and pay young people a living allowance to study rather than just pay them to be on the dole,' Liz Gordon said.
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