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February 28, 2005 | by  | in News | [ssba]

United Futures Student Support

United Future (UF) launched its “10 Point Plan to Boost Student Support” last Tuesday, including plans to drop the age at which students are means-tested for allowances on their parents’ income from 25 to 20. “It’s not realistic to expect parents to support their children until they are 25,” said UF leader Peter Dunne.

He also pledged to increase the accommodation supplement to match the supplement received by those on the dole. “It’s a real inconsistency at the moment that people on the dole are somewhat better off than students,” said Dunne. This also goes with plans to reinstate the Emergency Unemployment Benefit for students who cannot find work over the summer.

UF wants to encourage students to stay and work in NZ rather than flee from their loans. Dunne used the example of doctors to demonstrate his point: “It’s absurd [that] on the one hand, our doctors need to flee to pay their debt, but on the other hand, because of shortages we are importing doctors whose qualifications we’re not sure about.”

There are real questions about UF’s ability to get Labour to adopt any of these policies in a coalition Government. Dunne defended his party’s record, saying: “The parental income thresholds that were moved last year were a direct result of lobbying from us.”

The Student Support Plan is important to UF, said Dunne, as demonstrated by the fact that it was the first policy released for this election. Dunne expects that student support would be “on the table” in post-election negotiations.


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