Labour’s tertiary policy provides useful first steps

Press Release – NZ Union of Students’ Associations

NZUSA believes Labour’s tertiary education policy, announced late last week, provides some useful first steps towards a better tertiary system that properly supports students and ensures high quality education. However, it is disappointing to the goal of a …

Labour’s tertiary policy provides useful first steps

NZUSA believes Labour’s tertiary education policy, announced late last week, provides some useful first steps towards a better tertiary system that properly supports students and ensures high quality education. However, it is disappointing to the goal of a universal allowance gone from their policy.

Labour’s policy does provide an alternative approach to the policies of the existing Government. For example, there are commitments to increase tertiary funding and maintain the real value of funding rates, and reviewing the current cap on enrolments to provide more flexibility in situations of high demand will alleviate future access problems. The reversal of Training Incentive Allowance cuts and the Adult and Community Education funding cuts are particularly welcome.

“We especially commend a commitment to not just repeal ACT’s extreme student membership bill, but to instead work on sensible, fair, and enduring legislation that will secure the critical role students’ associations play in providing services and independent representation to students around the country. This strengthens a recent cross-party pledge facilitated by NZUSA to repeal ACT’s legislation,” says NZUSA co-President Max Hardy.

“NZUSA welcomes Labour’s continuing commitment to interest-free student loans. However more work needs to be done on addressing the drivers of student debt. The party’s policy acknowledges that students remain the only group in society that are required to borrow for basic costs such as food and rent,” says NZUSA co-President David Do.

“However, it is highly disappointing that a major solution to this – a universal student allowance – has been dropped from Labour’s policy. It’s positive to see Labour wanting to increase access to student allowances, as this is a key issue for students. But tinkering with eligibility will not decrease student debt – a universal allowance will,” says Do.

“With potential coalition partners likely to offer a universal allowance, Labour needs to come to the party if they want to receive the support of students. We look forward to the release of other parties’ policies in the coming weeks,” concludes Do.

[1] Income earned includes income earned through work but excludes loans from the Student Loan Scheme, parents, banks, or finance companies.

NZUSA is the national representative body for tertiary students and has been advocating on student issues since 1929.

ENDS

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