By Nikki Papatsoumas
As momentum builds ahead of the 2017 General Election Labour has announced its latest policy and it’s aimed directly at students.
If elected, the party has promised to offer one year of free post-secondary study to all first time tertiary students. As well as this it will boost student allowances and living cost loans by $50 a week. This is part of the party’s plan to offer three years free post-secondary study by 2024.
Massey at Wellington Students’ Association (MAWSA) Education Vice President Emma Pearce thinks it’s great the party is catering for students and hopes it will encourage more students to vote later this month.
“I’m surprised it hasn’t gone up sooner due to how expensive it is to live these days. If you look specifically to Wellington and Auckland with the price of rent, the current amount doesn’t even cover rent alone for students, I think it’s a positive change.”
She says offering free tertiary study is good but it is of more benefit to secondary school leavers than current university students.
“On the whole it’s awesome and it’s great to get people to try university but if they aren’t serious, it’s not fair to the rest of us, because the money has to come from somewhere.”
“Increasing student loan borrowing might be a short-term solution to meeting basic needs, but it still leaves graduates with a significant amount of debt in the long-term.
“As student loan debt reaches $16 billion, students and graduates are crying out for relief of this debt burden.”