Try a little fairness Mr Joyce

Steven Joyce should do the right thing and extend student allowances to all postgraduate students who are part way through their qualifications, says Labour Tertiary Education, Skills and Training Spokesperson Grant Robertson.

"Labour totally opposes the abolition of student allowances for postgraduate students. It is a short-sighted and unfair policy. But if Steven Joyce is determined to go ahead with it, he needs to urgently act to allow those students part way through their postgraduate study to get allowances.

“If he does not do so he will force some students to flag away their studies. This is a huge waste for them and for New Zealand as a whole.

"Students who enrolled in 2012, for example in a two year Masters programme, did so with the expectation that they would have allowances available to them for the duration of their study. Many will have made financial commitments on that basis. It is simply unfair and against natural justice to not allow them to continue to receive the allowance for the final year of their study.

"A limited exemption has been made for those with dependents to continue to receive an allowance for one more year, although I have had students contact me who thought they were eligible for this, who are not. In any case it should be extended to all postgraduate students who are part way through a qualification."

"It’s not too late for Mr Joyce to find his long-lost fairness bone. Many students are just discovering their ineligibility for allowances now after the vague and confusing announcements from the Government and StudyLink. Mr Joyce can step in and ensure there is a clear and fair position.

" If he does not do so it will be confirmation that for this National Government education is a cost to be cut, rather than an investment in our future as a country." Grant Robertson said.