‘Area 51 Day’ Should Be Renamed

  • Max Bradford
Tertiary Education

The Victoria University of Wellington Student Association's planned ‘Area 51 Day' should be renamed to closer represent the truth, Minister for Tertiary Education Max Bradford said today.

"The Association's Education Action Group says it is planning to launch "Area 51 Day" tomorrow in opposition to the Student Loan Scheme.

It says 51 signifies how many years it will take a women to pay back a $20,000 loan, based on a study by the Aotearoa Post-Compulsory Student Union, (APSU).

"The first point is that the average loan is NOT $20,000, it is about half of that. This point has been stated many times but student associations around the country continue to use inflated figures," Mr Bradford said.

"Secondly, ‘Area 51 Day' would be better named ‘Area 14 Day'.

"The model the APSU study is based on is outdated and has been superseded by a more sophisticated Tertiary Education Student Loan Analysis (TESLA) model.

"Using the TESLA model, it has been estimated that the average time it takes for a male and female to repay their student loan debt is 11 years and 14 years respectively.

"In a leaked e-mail even Karen Skinner, co-president of the NZUSA doesn't use the 51 year figure. Instead she uses a much lower figure that takes into account the major changes this Government has made to significantly reduce the length of time it takes to pay back a loan.

"By continuing to use the 51 year figure the Association continues to mislead the public and the students it purports to represent.

"The Association needs to remember that playing the political game does not mean playing with the truth," Mr Bradford said.