The Student's Guide to Everything

The Student's Guide to Everything: university student and graduate life from a New Zealand perspective

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I'm a marketing communications professional, writer and blogger. I can't live without the internet, I love to travel and I'm a photography nut.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Is National or Labour better for students?

The New Zealand elections are tomorrow! The two major parties, National and Labour, have both promised policies to benefit students. Which will benefit you most?

  • Keep interest-free student loans for tertiary students
  • Limit university fee increases
  • Student allowances: from 2009, reduce the age at which parental income is considered and increasing the parental income threshold for student allowances.
  • In 2012, abolish the student allowance parental income test entirely.
  • More Step Up scholarships
  • In January 2009, increase the number of Bonded Merit scholarships to 1,500.


  • Keep interest-free student loans for tertiary students
  • Establish a 10% repayment bonus on a loan balance for voluntary lump-sum payments of $500 or more, for 10 years following the start of borrower repayments.

So which party's policies are best for you? It depends on whether you are a student or a graduate. As a student, especially if you plan to study for at least a year in 2009, Labour's policies are best. As a graduate with a student loan, National's polices are best, because it's essentially a 10% rate of interest on your lump-sum payments.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

all these people voting for their selfish choices, without considering the fact that some policies are just unsustainable - unless we find oil in NZ...

November 7, 2008 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Brendan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 10, 2008 at 4:22 PM  
Blogger Brendan said...

I know that in the last election, despite being a student, I voted for National.

Labour was offering interest-free student loans, which would have greating benefited my personally, but I didn't think it was socially fair, or fiscally responsible.

This year, my decision was a lot harder. One of the reasons I ended up voting National again was their policy of a 10% repayment bonus on student loans, to give people an incentive to repay them quickly. Although I also think parental income testing on Student Allowances is hugely unethical and would love to put an end to it.

November 10, 2008 at 4:27 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

It's not simply a 10% bonus on voluntary student loan repayments, but only on those over $500 (also limited to the first 10 years after drawing the loan, I think). This benefits those who are already in a better financial shape. I did a radio interview with Dunedin North Nat candidate Michael Woodhouse, and asked him if that benefited those who could better afford it. He breezily suggested that it would help those who prioritised and paid off their loan faster rather than choosing to buy XBoxes, go out to dinner all the time, etc. He didn't seem to comprehend that many graduates spend their early career in relatively low paid work, and people who can drop a thousand bucks extra on their loan benefit more than those who pay and extra hundred or so when they can. I suppose you need to set that money aside and pay in lump sums less often, but that doesn't seem to be a useful policy for any particular reason. Why not just the extra 10% on any voluntary repayments?

November 11, 2008 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

Good point, Amy. The repayment policy does benefit those in better financial shape already - who has money to blow on eating out all the time?

Do you have a link for the radio interview you did, please? I'd love to post it on the blog to bring peoples' attention to it.

November 15, 2008 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Sorry, just got around to checking back up on this corner of the internet. That was only a small part of an interview focusing on more general Dunedin North interviews, and isn't currently available online.

If you want, I can keep you up-to-date with any interviews, etc, I do on tertiary education politics. I'm currently trying to line up an interview with Anne Tolley, Nat's new TE Minister, which I can make available online for you.

November 21, 2008 at 1:00 AM  
Blogger Tina said...


That would be fantastic! Email me at Studentsguidetoeverything at gmail so I can do a post about it. I'm curious about what National wants to change about tertiary education, since they didn't have much about it on their website last I looked.

November 25, 2008 at 11:30 PM  

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