Labour's student loans promises blows Cullen's budget

  • David Carter
Tertiary Education

Labour's tertiary education policy blows Michael Cullen's own budget, Acting Minister for Tertiary Education David Carter said today.

"Labour released its tertiary education policy today, promising $750 million funding for the tertiary sector over three years.

"In the third year he promises $300 million for tertiary education. This added to his other credit card promises for superannuation indexation, industry and housing leaves almost nothing from his self-imposed budget of $723 million," Mr Carter said.

"This means there is virtually nothing left for Labour's yet to be announced other credit card promises for health and policing.

"Labour's tertiary education policy encourages students to borrow more. It is totally irresponsible. It encourages students to borrow to the hilt while studying. This should be of concern to New Zealanders worried about young people taking on unnecessary debt.

"Currently less than half of all students have a loan. In 1998 45% of students took out a loan. Under Labour its anyone's guess how many will take up their attractive offer of free money to speculate on the share market," Mr Carter said.

"Labour's anti-job policies, such as reversing ACC and the Employment Contract Act, would also mean it would be less likely students would find a job on graduating," Mr Carter said.


(Note for editors: Budget for Year 3 of Labour's policies: Tertiary Education $300 million, Industry policy $100 million, Superannuation $243 million, Housing $75 million.

The total is $718 million. Mr Cullen was quoted in the Evening Post newspaper giving $723 million as the total for Year 3. This leaves $5 million.)