New Zealand Labour Party

Key should be ashamed over student debt

John Key should be ashamed for overseeing a 50 per cent blowout in student loan debt on his watch, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.

“Student loan debt has risen from less than $10 billion in 2008 to $15 billion today. That’s mostly driven up by the 37 per cent increase in tertiary fees under National, while government tuition funding has risen just 3 per cent.

“Saddling young people with student debt has prevented many from taking up study, made it harder to save and contributed to a home ownership rate among under-40s of just 20 per cent.

“Education is a source of wealth - for the individual and for the country. It helps lift families out of poverty, create opportunities for our children and provides the skilled workforce our businesses need.

“By giving people the opportunity to retrain or study without being saddled with a debt mountain will make it far easier for New Zealanders to make it in the world.

“National’s true attitude to post-school education has been revealed by Steven Joyce’s claim that Labour’s plan to bring in three free years ‘achieves absolutely nothing’.

“Average debts of $20,000 are a big disincentive for struggling families. That’s why student numbers have fallen by 20 per cent under National.

"John Key's Government has saddled a generation with debt that makes it harder for them to achieve the Kiwi Dream. He should be ashamed,” says Andrew Little.