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May 26, 2014 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Student Politicians Respond to Budget

Salient asked the young political hacks what they thought of the Budget and what it means for students.

1. What is the single best part of the Budget?

2. What is the single worst part of the Budget?

3. What do you see being the main impact on students from this Budget?


1. Free GP visits to under-13s. No one should miss out on healthcare because they don’t have money, especially children. Although, we will have to wait and see how it works. It’s voluntary and the Government hasn’t asked GPs whether the subsidy level means they can offer it. Fees might go up for others so GPs can cross-subsidise. It’s a great policy, but lacking in detail at this stage.

2. National’s ideological refusal to tackle the big issues of housing, inequality and child poverty is the worst part of this budget. Labour would have dealt with the housing crisis, and ensured all rental homes were insulated. Instead, we got cuts to home insulation, and children in poverty being completely left out of the “Families Package”. That’s a travesty.

3. This budget will be felt by students as poorer quality degrees, restricted choice and harsher repayments when you graduate. Tertiary-education funding has again been cut in real terms – with quite significant cuts to non-Science course funding – while the Government banks the ‘savings’ from deep cuts to student support.

Universities face increased costs as they try to attract the best lecturers and academics. With the latest round of cuts, something is going to give. It’s sad to see Steven Joyce take a micromanaging approach to the sector, directing funding towards subjects and away from others. For Joyce, it doesn’t matter what you want to do with your life: he knows best.

National has achieved a surplus by cutting student support, and increasing how much you have to repay when you can least afford it. All to make Bill English look good. That’s very short-sighted. Labour will recognise your education as an investment.


1. How much the opposition set the agenda. The extension of free GP visits to under-13s, increasing paid parental leave to 18 weeks and focussing on families are all Green Party policies and campaigns. But National didn’t go far enough to deliver the real reductions in inequality we need.

2. The $2.4 billion cuts in real terms to health and education over the next three years to pay for a false surplus, and $4.6 million in cuts from DOC to protect our environment. Ultimately, there was an overall lack of vision and no plans for a smarter, greener economy.

3. National delivered nothing in the Budget for students. Nothing on fees, loans or allowances, nothing on rental accommodation or cost of living. Nothing on housing or cheaper transport. It shows if we want our issues to be addressed, we need to be enrolled and Party Vote Green on 20 September.


1. NZ First Youth is really pleased that National’s taken a policy we came up with (extending NZ First’s free healthcare for under-6s all the way to all Kiwi kids under 13) and made it the centerpiece of its 2014 Budget. Too bad the Nats haven’t borrowed the *rest* of our good ideas!

2. Hard to pick just one “worst” bit! Where to start? The fact that essential services like health and policing have had, in real terms, funding cuts? The fact our state services are being trashed to fund an illusory ‘surplus’ created through massaging figures? The fact that the $327 million in ‘surplus’ is exactly equivalent to the $327 million of income per year we would have retained from not selling our assets…?

3. The main impact for students in this budget is that their concerns were simply ignored. Following on as it does from the Government’s sneaky increase of the student loan repayment rate from ten per cent to 12 per cent in 2013, as well as cancelling the ten per cent repayment bonus, I guess we really shouldn’t be surprised that the Government refuses to do more to help our young people.

Don’t waste your time looking for help for students in this budget. Instead, look for it in the election manifesto of NZ First. We’re advocating a Universal Student Allowance, lowering fees, state assistance to pay off your loan faster, and adequate funding to ensure student on-campus representation.


1) The best part of the Budget is the return to surplus in 2014/15. Leading into the Global Financial Crisis, a decade of deficits was projected for the Government due to out-of-control spending. That this has been turned around in two terms is down to tight fiscal management by Bill English and his team.

2) The lack of tax cuts is disappointing. We would like to see cuts to personal income taxes by the 2017/18 budget at latest. These could be funded by eliminating middle-class welfare programmes like Working for Families.

3) The main thing students need to consider is that in future, they will also be wage-earners and taxpayers. Overall, the impact is very positive, because by turning around our economic fortunes there will be more high-paying jobs available for graduates. The last thing students as future taxpayers want to inherit is a mountain of debt run up by older generations to pay back. By keeping debt at more manageable levels, the Government is preserving freedom for future taxpayers and governments to make decisions about the direction of New Zealand without a millstone around their neck.



About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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