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February 28, 2005 | by  | in News |
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Student Loans

Tertiary Education Minister Trevor Mallard indicated that Labour would probably not be making any major changes to its policy regarding student loans. When asked if it was fair that the student accommodation supplement was less than the dole, Mallard said: “The student allowance has never been a full living cost arrangement, it’s always been done as effectively a grant in aid, something that works on the assumption that people work in holidays, earn some savings and only a proportion of people get it, based on income.”

Mallard suggested that that major changes in student loan policies were only likely to happen “if the country struck oil, and we were guaranteed economic security for the next 50 years”. In the meantime: “I want to keep improving things but it will be at the margins rather than a massive change.”

When asked about United Future’s policies on student support (which included lowering the age at which student allowances are dependent on parental income), Mallard said, “You’d never rule anything out in politics, but it is a very, very expensive arrangement. Our costings of it have it at a bit over $3 billion over a 4-year period.”

Wellington Central MP Marian Hobbs echoed many of Mallard’s opinions. On the Emergency Unemployment Benefit for students who do not find work over summer: “I’ve just been reading how much we put into Student Job Search and I’m actually a bit stunned that students aren’t finding jobs in the holidays at the moment.”

Hobbs also discussed the construction of the Inner-City Bypass. She acknowledged many of the problems with the project: “I’m sad about the bypass. I’d love for there to have been something else. My concern now with the Aro Flats is more about once the bypass happens, the nature of that area is going to change.”

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