MPs are calling on the Government to close tax loopholes which allow the kids of some of New Zealand’s wealthiest families to receive a student allowance.
The non-repayable allowance is designed to provide the kids of low- and middle-income families up to $175 per week while they study.
But a 20-year-old Victoria University student whose parents own a multi-million-dollar business told Newshub she gets the allowance because her parents “technically don’t receive an income”.
“Everything goes into the trust, so on paper we look like just your average struggling family.”
A 21-year-old Waikato University student whose parents own a multi-million-dollar farm in the Waikato also told Newshub they get the allowance.
Last week, Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse proposed a crackdown on abuse of the student allowance system. His proposed changes will see the Ministry of Social Development receive parents’ income statements directly from IRD. Presently, parents submit payslips or a declaration of estimated earnings.
But some MPs say the proposed changes don’t go far enough.
“The proposed changes are simply cosmetic, and will not pick up on wealthy parents who hide money in trust funds,” Labour education spokesperson Chris Hipkins told Newshub.
“Labour is committed to a full review of the student loan and allowance scheme.”
Labour should not be calling for fewer students to get a student allowance, but all students to get one.
I am 100% for targeting assistance – but it should be targeted on your own income, not your parents once you are an 18 year old.
I have always opposed a 24 year old being assumed to be dependent on their parents and receiving income from them.