Greens and Student Loans

The Greens say student loan debt is growing at $78,000 an hour. Sounds awful until you realise that this is around 20 cents/hour/borrower.

The idea of writing off some of the loan for people who stay in NZ is not novel. In fact it is copied from National’s 2002 policy. But I am unsure what they mean by saying people can get their loan written off by doing unpaid work. Does this mean become a full-time activist for Greenpeace and we will write your loan off for you??

They plan to fund their promises out of the Cullen superannuation fund. This is one reason why I have never liked the fund – leave tens of billions of dollars in a fund which the Government owns, and MPs will try and raid it for their pet projects. Frankly I don’t think anyone under 40 should assume that the fund will be there when they retire.

The Greens also seek to reduce the age for parental means testing. This is an area in which I concur. But to remove it alltogether as they propose would cost $4.1 billion over four years and frankly the Greens are nore likely to endorse battery hen farming than they are to ever come close to being able to deliver this.

If I have this right, the Greens want to do the following:
* Write off all student debt if people stay in NZ
* Increase threshold for student debt repayment
* Suspend interest for those on low incomes
* Make study costs tax deductible for those not getting an allowance
* Introduce a universal student allowance
* Lower age of parental means testing
* Increase parental income threshold
* Increase accomodation allowance by $100/week approx
* Re-intrdouce independent circumstances allowance
* Make all students eligible for the dole over summer
* Reduce student fees to $1,500

The total cost of all this over four years would be around $8 billion at a minimum I calculate. But in reality it would be far far more. Enrolments at the wananaga and the like would skyrocket as students would probably be offered all sorts of inducements to be enrolled when the Government will pay them up to $300/week to study for as long as they like.

And as long as you joined Greenpeace you would get your entire student loan paid off. Even better you would never have to work for money as the Greens support paying a universal living allowance to every NZer regardless of whether they are seeking work or not.

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