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May 21, 2007 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Crazy Cullen’s kooky budget madness

Student leaders are joining the chorus of disaffected constituents over last week’s budget, saying it fails to do enough to help students.

New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) Co-President Joey Randall says the budget was “disappointing” for students, citing a lack of “meaningful increases in student support from Labour”.

Given the cumbersome nickname of the “Money Go-Round” budget by National Party leader John Key, Finance Minister Michael Cullen’s eighth budget sets aside $285.1 million extra operating money for tertiary education over the next four years.

Of that almost $300 million:
* $129 million will be given to universities to “build their capability and strengthen their international competitiveness”;
* $16.2 million for student allowance funding;
* $14 million for the Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) – a system that allocates government funding based on academic performance.
* $35 million to the Quality Reinvestment Programme, which aids institutes of technology and polytechnics to reach the educational standards outlined in the Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities (STEP);
* $6 million to wananga to boost research capability. Finance Minister Michael Cullen says the budget aims to provide “better value for money for taxpayers and students. This is vital if we are to maximise the potential of the tertiary sector to contribute to our economic and social well-being.”

However, National Tertiary Education spokesman Dr. Paul Hutchinson says while he believes students will be pleased at the small increase in money for allowances, overall “in our view the Government got its priorities wrong.”

Instead of forking our for the interest free student loans programme, Hutchinson argues the money should go to increasing student allowances.

Randall agrees, saying that instead of increasing the numbers of students receiving the allowance as Labour promised, students actually receiving the allowance has dropped by 20 percent.

Massey Wellington Students’ Association President Sean Gillespie, who attended last week’s budget lock-up, says “while the budget certainly didn’t put a smile on my face, it didn’t take one off either. There’s a long way to go until students are properly supported.”


About the Author ()

Nicola Kean: feature writer, philanthropist, womanly woman. Nicola is the smallest member of the Salient team, but eats really large pieces of lasagne. Favourites include 80s music, the scent of fresh pine needles and long walks on the beach.

Comments (9)

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  1. Lalala says:

    Rather lazy journalism interviewing your own boyfriend for comment instead of the relevant student-body President for Salient.

  2. Nicola Kean says:

    Actually, Mr Gillespie attended the Budget lock-up on behalf of NZUSA, which does represent Vic students, and so had a better idea of what was contained in the Budget for students than those who were unable to go. Geoff was at graduation all day and unable to attend.

  3. Matt says:

    “Mr Gillespie” eh?


  4. Ann-marie says:

    At least he didn’t write the story for her ;-)

  5. Matt says:

    Hey, I cut and paste that story AND formatted it.

    That’s basically the same as writing it.

  6. Hmmm says:

    So was it bedroom interviewing then?

    Seriously, does Jane Clifton interview Murry McCully? No, because there is a conflict of interest.

  7. Sean Gillespie says:

    Conflict of interest? While I don’t apprieciate your condescending tone, I’ll return it.

    Apart from being a student politician, I’m also a qualified journalist and am failing to see an issue in this instance. It’s a throwaway quote at the bottom of a non-contencious article and I was one of only two appropriate people to speak to.

    And who would waste their time interviewing McCully anyway? He’s boring.

  8. pretty shitty attempts at personal dunks going on here.

  9. Greg says:

    Where has the rest of the money gone?
    Around $85 million seems to be hanging around in various smaller projects. I take it most of these will be targeted towards something? Any idea as to what?

    And seriously, who cares who was interviewed? If it was an opinion piece, or something controversial, then there may be a problem. But it is not. It would have been nice to have some commentary from Geoff (because he should read the Budget and give VUWSA’s stance on it, and if he hasn’t, then that is cause for concern).

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