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May 24, 2010 | by  | in News |
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2010 Budget Announcement

Bill’s vision for Nuu Zillund

There was a distinct lack of any drama in last week’s Budget 2010 announcement, with all the major changes already spilled by the main players.

 
In a rather lacklustre performance, Finance Minister Bill English announced a raft of tax changes and confused the lot of us with a whole lot of words to say not much.
 
The promised GST increase was there, as were the promised tax cuts.  However, despite the shopping list of pre-Budget changes announced by Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce, Budget 2010 was lacking in any real direction for the tertiary sector.
 
Although the Budget allows for 1735 new full-time places at universities nationwide, NZUSA co-President Pene Delaney dismisses it as inadequate given the current climate.

Vice-Chancellor’s Committee Chair Derek McCormack says the budget does little to support universities’ ability to contribute to sustained economic growth.

“The budget makes room for a total of 765 new places across all universities next year, but it does this through no additional funding. 

“This will not ease the burden that universities are facing in demand for places and the universities will continue to turn thousands of students away.”
 
Labour Tertiary Education spokesperson Maryan Street says the new places are not for new students.

“Let’s be clear — these are not 1735 new students. Most of them are already in universities but being carried and funded by the universities themselves.

“When universities are writing to hundreds and hundreds of students to say ‘don’t bother enrolling, we can’t take you’, this doesn’t cut it.”

As teased by Joyce, students who fail more than half of their papers over the course of their first 1.6 Equivalent Full Time Student (EFTS) units (a standard year is 0.8 EFTS) will have their ability to borrow from student loans cut.

Students will need to complete papers at their own expense before regaining access to the loan scheme.

The time limit for access to the student loan scheme has also been set at 7 EFTS. Students will need to fund any further study themselves, with a few exceptions.

NZUSA co-president David Do was disappointed with the lack of direction for the sector.
 
“It has failed to meaningfully tackle the real issues of underfunding and student debt,” says Do.
 
Joyce says the cautious approach towards tertiary funding can be blamed on the price of failure incurred on students and the government.
 
“When students take out a student loan, but fail to gain a qualification, they incur costs for themselves and for the government without any real gain.”

Green Party Tertiary Education Spokesperson Gareth Hughes says the lack of any extra funding for tertiary education is essentially a cut.

“The Minister for Tertiary education has shifted $200 million into a student achievement-based funding model for universities which will increase inequality.

“Funding systems that focus on student achievement will erode academic standards by forcing lecturers to allow substandard students to pass courses so they retain funding.”



Former Salient News Editor and numbers man Keith Ng summed up Budget 2010 best by asking “What’d you expect?

“

This is a tax cut for the rich, yes, but I struggle to get too worked up about it. Key said it was a tax cut for the rich, National campaigned on tax cuts for the rich and people elected them to give tax cuts to the rich. Meh, this is how governments work.”



With the rise of GST from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent, general household necessities such as petrol, food and power will rise in price come 1 October.



There is a small break for those on a student allowance, with the government promising a 2.02 per cent rise in payments to counteract the rise in GST.



Tax rates for those earning between $14,000 to $48,000 dropped from 21 per cent to 17.5 per cent, and those earning between $48,000 to $70,000 will see a change to 30 per cent down from 33 per cent.



According to English, these changes would give those on the average income an extra $30 per week. 



Opposition leader Phil Goff was quick to contradict the government’s forecast figures on tax cuts, and says that with the GST increase, those on an average wage income would in fact be $30 worse off every week.

“

There could scarcely be a worse time to put pressure on family budgets than right now.”



To help you work your way through the multiple increases and decreases and changes galore, the government has developed an online calculator. To work out what effect the tax cut will have on you, go to taxguide.govt.nz.

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About the Author ()

News Editor and Chief Editor-Annoyance. Thinks you should volunteer to write news. Is easily distracted by shiny things.

Comments (3)

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  1. Max says:

    I think a refreshing change for Salient would be to have some objective news instead of articles that are always politically biased. It seems all I read in Salient are a bunch of opinions, give me some facts.

    And this is another piece that wants more spending on education. Fine. We all want more spending on education but there’s a little problem called money. If you’re going to write about more money at least enlighten us as to where the government should make spending cuts and/or your alternative ideas for funding.

  2. s says:

    Spending cuts on war on Afghanistan would be a good start. Especially as we were told our troops would not see combat, which has already been made untrue.

  3. Too right max says:

    Max is right. I know the Salient is a student magazine but it would be nice to either see both sides of a story or an impartial view. Also, on an unrelated note, Salient, please stop with the “we love indie music”, yeah we get it, your alternative.

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