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May 18, 2009 | by  | in News |
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Interest free loans ain’t goin’ nowhere no-how

The Government has fervently denied any nefarious plot to alter the Student Loan Scheme, despite the misinformed musings of a political newsletter.

The 7 May Issue of Trans Tasman, an online periodical covering all matters political and economic, suggested interest-free student loans would be abolished in the upcoming budget as they were considered “a key risk to the Crown accounts.”

This sparked alarm among student advocacy groups and opposition MPs alike, concerned the Government was poised to flip-flop on one of its most rigid promises.

Opposition Spokesperson on Tertiary Education, Maryan Street, released a statement calling for the Government to deny the rumours in the ‘well-informed’ newsletter.

“This is particularly alarming given the Education Minister’s refusal to clarify the issue when challenged in Parliament during the first reading of the Government’s Student Loan Repayment Bonus legislation,” Street said.

Co-President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations Jordan King was equally concerned.

“Any plans to charge interest on student loans would constitute the biggest step back in tertiary education since the introduction of the student loan scheme in 1992,” said King.

When questioned by Salient as whether there was any truth to the rumours, Minister of Tertiary Education Anne Tolley issued a short, sharp response.

“No,” she simply replied.

The rumours were finally laid to rest on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme when Prime Minister John Key adamantly denied any plan to alter the Student Loan Scheme.

The National-led Government’s first budget will be released on 28 May.

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