Alliance’s Promises To Students Promise Higher Taxes

  • Max Bradford
Tertiary Education

The Alliance Party's promises to students promise higher taxes for the rest of New Zealand, Minister for Tertiary Education Max Bradford said today.

The Alliance is due to announce its full tertiary education policy today.

"The Alliance's approach to tertiary education is reckless with taxpayers hard earned cash, and will encourage students to take on more debt," Mr Bradford said.

"So far it has offered two handouts to students, many of whom don't need them as they are in a better position to contribute to the cost of their education than the average New Zealand taxpayer.

"Interest free student loans will result in every student borrowing regardless of need and will cost the taxpayer about $300 million a year.

"Added to this is another $300 million under Alliance's allowance scheme.

"The only way their policies would be affordable is to put taxes up or put the country into debt," Mr Bradford said.

"I predict the next wad of money the Alliance will want to take from the taxpayer's pocket will be to pay for an increase in Government funding for tertiary education.

The Government is already the biggest contributor to investment in tertiary education, contributing in the 1997/98 tax year, $1.183 billion on tuition subsidies (which is approximately 72.5% of tertiary costs); $344 million on student allowances; and $652 million on student loans.

"There is no sign that this fair contribution students make is holding back enrolments. Enrolments have increased 40% over the last decade.

"Under the Student Loan Scheme more students than ever before have been able to participate in tertiary education and training, especially women, Maori, Pacific Islanders and people with low incomes. For example; Maori and Pacific Island backgrounds have showed large increases - between 1994 and 1998 the total growth rates were 24% and 30% respectively.

"The current loan scheme is open to everyone but requires students to be responsible about their borrowing. Taxpayers would expect that as a minimum.

"This Government does not want to encourage our young people into debt like the Alliance does.

"We want to encourage them to get the best tertiary education in the fairest possible way," Mr Bradford .