Budget sees most students miss out

By Jamie-Lee Bracken

While some students will soon have extra support following the government’s 2017 Budget announcement, three quarters will continue to struggle with no change to their financial entitlements.

Last Thursday the government announced its 2017 Budget.

As part of the budget, students living in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch who already receive the accommodation supplement will have an extra $20 to play with, as the supplement rises from $40 to $60 each week.

Meanwhile those students based in Dunedin will likely see an $11 increase to $51.

However, only 33 per cent of students are eligible for the accommodation supplement meaning many students will continue to struggle with paying rising rent prices and bills.

While the increase has been welcomed by the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA), they say it doesn’t do quite enough to accommodate rising house costs.

NZUSA National President, Jonathan Gee, says it is important to acknowledge what is missing from the Budget.

“More than three quarters of students will see no change to their living situation as a result of this Budget. This contrasts with our recommendation in our Budget wishlist, calling for a housing grant for all students.”

There is concern that the Auckland rent crisis isn’t being considered either, says the association.

It says students based in Auckland will receive the same level of support as those in Wellington and Christchurch, even though students there pay $70 more in rent.

Holly Lauridsen, a Massey fashion design student agrees that “living is expensive”.

“Having money whilst studying means not needing to worry about debts later,” she says.

The NZUSA say they are now calling for the government to fix the problem and acknowledge issues regarding student poverty.



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