The Green Party is launching their “Election Priority for Students” at Auckland University today from 2-3 pm in the Auckland University Quad. Russel Norman and Metiria Turei will be presenting it together, indicating it will most likely have a financial ficus, and considerations of individual, social and community well being.
The Greens have had strong tertiary education and support for students policies for a long time. They describe education as a “public good and an economic investment”. That means education is an investment for the future of the community and society, and not something to be bought by and sold to the individuals doing courses.
Working towards a debt free, no fees, system where everyone will be able to access a universal student living allowance, and where tertiary education is available to all Kiwis.
As they work towards this they will:
Progressively reduce fees, reduce barriers to doing courses (e.g. by providing child care for those who need it) introduce a debt write off scheme.
Other opposition parties have some similar policies:
Abolish all fees for tertiary students of all ages, and provide students with a living allowance (or Universal Basic Income) while studying.
Develop a plan to write off student debt. In the meantime, there should be no further interest on student loans.
Provide students with community-based jobs to help them complete their courses and reduce their debt.
Internet Party: They have made free tertiary education and student loans a priority.
Labour Party: So far they have focused on school education and have a very comprehensive policy on it. They will also ensure all under 20 year olds are “in work, education or training”.
The Greens also have a strong focus on early childhood and school education, placing them firmly within community networks. I will be interested to see the aspects of student support that the Greens will prioritise this election.
Today at Auckland University, Russel Norman and Metiria Turei announced a smart green policy – affordable, sustainable, and it will ease the financial burden on students – a Green Card for off peak travel on public transport:
All tertiary students and apprentices will get free off-peak travel on buses, trains, and ferries with a Student Green Card. All students attending universities, wānanga, polytechnics and Private Training Establishments, as well as those training through New Zealand Apprenticeships, will be eligible for the Green Card.
This will benefit up to 325,000 tertiary students, as well as approximately 28,000 people training under the New Zealand Apprenticeship scheme.
Off-peak travel will be free between the hours of 9am and 3pm, and from 6.30pm until the end of service on weekdays. It also covers all weekends and public holidays.
The Student Green Card will cost between $20 million-30 million per year. The costings are based on an increase in trips of 30 percent in response to the free travel on the Green Card, and would cost the Crown between $1.70-$2.20 per passenger trip. This will be funded by re-prioritised spending from the National Land Transport Fund.