Keith Ng has done some very good work by scooping a story on how the proportion of students receiving a student allowance under Labour has fallen by a massive 32%.
Ng points out that Labour made changes to allowances in last year’s budget which they claimed would deliver allowances to 28,000 more students. However the number on allowances actually went down by 3,000 so they were 31,000 out. And of course they have tried to keep this quiet, until Keith did his investigation.
The key issue is the threshold level for parental income has not increased, making more and more people ineligible. The same thing happens with income tax with more and more families each year being subjected to higher tax rates, as they move into new tax brackets.
Jordan Carter tries to add to the Mallard spin that at least the students are benefiting by their families being better off and calls for the government to lift parental income thresholds.
Personally I don’t want to see parental income thresholds lifted. I want to see them abolished. It is fairly ludicrous to declare a 24 year old is a dependent child. Fiscally it would be difficult to abolish them overnight, but a good start would be to reduce the age it applies to gradually. Say drop it to 21 over four years.
Frog has also croaked in with some nice research showing as recently as a few weeks ago Mallard was still proclaiming 36,000 more students will benefit. Lies, damned lies and statistics indeed. Labour probably knew by March that less students were getting an allowance so instead they spoke about the number of students the change was “designed to benefit”.
Bill English has commented here and here. In the latter release he ridicules Mallard’s statement that “part-time work is a disincentive to students picking up a student allowance” as giving students the Heineken treatment.
The NZ Herald has picked up the story, crediting ASPA whom Ng works for. They mainly just rehash the releases.