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National Party U-turn on student loans

Written By: - Date published: 4:18 pm, January 31st, 2008 - 84 comments
Categories: education, flip-flop, inoculation - Tags: , ,

boneless.jpgNational have just backed down on their opposition to interest free student loans.

Back in 2005 Key called this ‘a policy that tells young New Zealanders to go and borrow to the hilt What a cost to the country! What an unaffordable and irresponsible cost to the country! It is a sad day National members will be opposing this legislation with every bone in our bodies’

Now the interest free student loan policy is just the latest in a long series of John Key’s “policy inoculations”. From Colin Espiner’s blog:

Labour’s interest-free student loans policy was a big ‘dead rat’ to have to swallow, but John Key had no choice but to hold his nose and throw it down the hatch.

Labour will howl ‘policy theft’ and there will be more accusations of ‘me-tooism’ against National. And some might say fair enough. I reckon Key has engineered at least ten policy reversals since becoming leader (perhaps someone wants to count?). The biggies include income-related state rents, KiwiSaver MK1, Working for Families Mk1, and the Cullen super fund.

In his ongoing quest to clear the decks and remove the stench of the Brash years from National, it does appear at times as if Key is simply removing reasons not to vote National, rather than giving people reasons to vote for it.

84 comments on “National Party U-turn on student loans ”

  1. Matthew Pilott 1

    They originally protested at the cost of the scheme, yet plan to make it cost more than it currently does by giving incentives for repayments. I doubt the incentives will be offset by voluntary savings.

    Fact is, it’s not too bright to piss and moan about the cost of a scheme when you plan to throw more money at it.

  2. hinamanu 2

    [Dad, you’re banned. Go away.]

    [lprent – junk warning – this is probably dad4justice under yet another alias. It is in his usual IP range and with the usual comment type.]
    [lprent – well at least he sometimes shows a sense of humour]

  3. Sam Dixon 3

    As late as October last year, Bill English was criticising interest-free loans and now we’re menat to trust them?

    I love Key’s response to being asked why they changed their loans policy “because we lost the last election”

  4. Daveo 4

    Watch Davey try to desperately spin for National:

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/01/national_promises_incentive_to_make_voluntary_loan_repayments.html

    It’s actually painful to read.

  5. Dean 5

    Yeah, this is pretty sad. At least if they’d stuck to their guns they could have retained some sort of credibility.

    Mind you, it’s no worse than Labour’s – and as much as it pains me because I loathe people who want to debate the cult of personality – and Helen Clarke’s furious backpeddling on the smacking debate.

    It’s fair enough to call out John Key’s turnaround on this issue. But how about Helen on other matters?

  6. andy 6

    JK was just on Nat radio talking about ‘the fair value of the book’, fair value is based around resale value. Do we smell privatisation of student loans down the track.

    The furious back peddling is not good, but from my POV its a good policy. Gives certainty…

    Well done JK

  7. Matthew Pilott 7

    Andy – I would be feeling very little certainty – all they seem to want to do is keep Labour’s policies. If that was really the case, they wouldn’t be running against Labour – so I’d keep a sharp eye out for those subtle differences, and try to read between the lines.

    CAP: the trout (which one?)

  8. insider 8

    I’m not sure he is backing down on opposing the principal pf the policy, just saying it is too entrenched and he will live with it. I suspect there are many Nat policies that labour has had to do likewise despite opposing initially.

  9. andy 9

    Matthew,

    Certainty for student loans ONLY, for the next three years.

    Like I said, I smell privatisation from the way he was talking about the loan book on Nat radio.

    I think this is actualy designed to repair the lost trust of the first wave of borrowers who were given free reign on borrowing and abused the SL system got themselves in hock thanks to Lockwoods stupidity. As that demographic is is hitting the dirty 30’s.

    I have friends who for the first time in decades saw their SL balance actually drop, they had given up on ever paying it off, and the minimum 10% was not to painful a tax to pay.

    They are all very happy to see the light at the end of the tunnel and JK has just offered another lolly, pay extra and we pay 10% aswell.

    Very clever, because also in three years the total outstanding SL amount (9 Billion from memory) will drop and stabilise, then JK can claim that he has fixed the SL problem. The average loan now is smaller and easier to pay off.

    I agree its about buying votes. It took guts to back track..

  10. Monty 10

    Oh this is now very funny – having set the agenda and pissing Labour off because national have taken this item off the political agenda and at the same time they have incentivised people to “pay off the loan fast, Labour’s weak and pathetic reaction is to criticise for offering an incentive to pay back the money more quickly.

    Angry man Peter Hodgson is demonstrating how pathetic he really is. As David Farrar points out it would be politically unfeasible to introduce interest – so it makes sense to live with the policy – but the next step is to actually get the money back in the door. Offering an incentive for people to pay back the money will probably lower the default rate and it means the money can then be redistributed to other students or used for other government projects.

    Summed up – National continue to set the agenda, and Labour are left looking on as pathetic and desperate.

    On top of the widely approved speech by John Key early this week, stand by for another good increase in the polls as we soak up the student vote. (and recent graduates)

  11. andy 11

    Monty,

    Or does Mr and Mrs average just dicount this from voting decisions now. i don’t think it soaks up the student vote it negates it for both parties. Level playing field, the lolly scramble has started.

    I have a SL, it now a tick on my list that both are offering. Ceterus parabus??

    captcha: strongest jan

  12. Our Farm Correspondent 12

    So, a complete about-turn. We cross live now to Kiwiblog for the reaction:

    “Four legs good, two legs better!
    Four legs good, two legs better!”

  13. andy 13

    Dad, go do some gardening or something productive.

  14. Our Farm Correspondent 14

    Er, I think you kinda missed the point there Andy.

  15. frank 15

    Keeping loans interest free comes at a cost – a lost opportunity cost, if nothing else, because capital must work to remain capital. Extending capital in the no-interest scheme bites into what the capital COULD earn if it were being used more efficiently. On balance, giving a dividend to put the capital back into a vehicle where it CAN work should outweigh the cost of the dividend. Interest on loans is the “work” capital does – and the loan is the capital. Getting the loans back faster is in every taxpayer’s interest.

  16. Simeon 16

    Which party is your preffered party of Government?

    Have you voted in the poll at http://www.nzdebate.blogspot.com

  17. National are doing a much better job than Labour thus far.

  18. Aj 18

    In 2005 JK predicted ‘a whole financial industry’ would develop as people abused the student loan scheme.

    Never happed, John.

  19. Neville 19

    Nats are really good at U turns, and shifting goal posts!.

  20. burt 20

    Nats are really good at U turns, you should about them here and ignore Labour’s and over on Kiwiblog they shout about how good Labour are at U turns and ignore National’s.

    Cool, what’s a better idea. Come up with a better fairer policy to encourage repayment – I can’t think of a better way, can you? If so please explain and we can debate it’s merits.

  21. burt 21

    ooops, first ‘shoud’ above should be ‘shout’.

  22. Daveo 22

    Which party is your preffered party of Government?

    Have you voted in the poll at http://www.nzdebate.blogspot.com

    Simeon – if you insist on link-whoring to your crappy site at least try to make it relevant.

  23. Don’t worry Daveo – Simeon has to go back to school on Thursday, young mass-debate will quieten down then.

  24. andy 24

    Our Farm Correspondent,

    Apologies, got it!

  25. Ben R 25

    “I love Key’s response to being asked why they changed their loans policy “because we lost the last election'”

    Isn’t it refreshing though that he’s honest about it?!

    I mean would Labour have introduced the policy in the first place if they weren’t struggling in the polls before the 2005 election? Labour also did a bit of a U-turn after Brash’s Orewa speech. Both the main parties adjust their policies depending on what proves popular.

  26. AncientGeek 26

    The nats have a few days left at their caucus retreat I think. Who knows what they will come up with in that time. It is always interesting when the right does something unusual and starts to think. Strange things can occur.

    This one, free student loan policy, is such a reversal. Bill English in particular was adamant that it was a bad idea.

  27. Phil 27

    Aj,

    “In 2005 JK predicted ‘a whole financial industry’ would develop as people abused the student loan scheme.

    Never happed, John”

    Erm… WRONG!
    That is EXACTLY what’s happened, and the big fat bribe Cullen is offering on Kiwisaver has made it an awful lot easier. I’ve got colleagues who are enthusiastically pushing their children toward the student loans scheme, with the explicit goal of getting them a kick-start on savings… these are familys that could pay for their kids uni fees, but the cash rort is just too good to miss!

    There is a huge profit to be made for the savvy student.

  28. mike 28

    It would politically to difficult to reverse somthing like the student schene now that is embedded.
    We all remember Hellen backing out of her racist policy’s after Don’s one law for all speech.
    Swollowing Dead Rats is something all parties are guilty of.

  29. AncientGeek 29

    mike: an interesting set of statements.

    I don’t remember labour or Helen doing any such thing. Care to provide a link to back up that claim? MSM please – I’m not really interested in the circular brown-nosing that often passes as fact on the extreme right or extreme left.

    However you are correct, all parties to some degree of another do accept changes that they don’t like and live with them. However at present it is the number of u-turns of the Nats that is interesting.

    Key has engineered at least ten policy reversals since becoming leader (perhaps someone wants to count?).

    I’d be interested in such a page. Be fun pointing it to my nat supporter friends.

    captcha: cigarettes the
    what a good idea

  30. r0b 30

    I’d be interested in such a page. Be fun pointing it to my nat supporter friends.

    Hi AG. This isn’t MSM, and they aren’t all Key flip flops, but Kiwiblogblog has an interesting list:

    http://kiwiblogblog.wordpress.com/2008/02/01/nationals-back-flip-fever/

  31. AncientGeek 31

    rOb: good page, and interesting comments by the faithful right. They seem almost embarrassed.

    The MSM was about mike’s claim. Leaving aside his emotive language, I can’t remember labour changing policies or even changing the proposed order of implementing policy after Brash’s Owera I.

    What I do remember is a lot of speculation by the right about what labour would do. Presumably mike is confusing that speculation with fact.

    captcha: face deploying
    sounds like the nats at present

  32. mike 32

    AG: do you not recall the raft of race based scholarships and incentives disappearing in a matter of months. They did exist and now they don’t or is it just the selective memory you pinko’s seem to have?

  33. Tane 33

    As I recall Mike there’s a great bit in the Hollow Men where Brash’s team ask the research unit to come up with some examples of race-based preference. They came up with some pretty desperate and laughable stuff, but nothing concrete.

  34. Regan 34

    Key has engineered at least ten policy reversals since becoming leader (perhaps someone wants to count?)

    Couldn’t this actually be seen as something positive towards a new direction Key wants to take National under his leadership? National has definitely shifted more towards the middle ground so surely, if they can actually win an election, that is good for the country as a whole.

  35. gobsmacked 35

    Key supports the so-called race-based policies that Brash attacked.

    From his Tuesday speech:

    “We’ll ensure there’s a range of programmes available that cater to the individual needs of the offenders and their whanau. This would include iwi-based services and other services aimed specifically at Maori or other cultural groups.”

    Mike, you’d better have a word with that pinko Key.

  36. AncientGeek 36

    AG: do you not recall the raft of race based scholarships and incentives disappearing in a matter of months. They did exist and now they don’t or is it just the selective memory you pinko’s seem to have?

    An interesting view.

    Almost all scholarships and incentives like that are offered by the respective institutions – mainly universities, or by the Iwi’s. They are not funded by the government. Are you suggesting that those institutions are dictated to by the government? I’m bloody sure that they weren’t and aren’t.

    As I said – prove your point. Don’t use your ‘common knowledge’ approach. Show at least one documented example of what you’re talking about.

  37. AncientGeek 37

    Tane: I remember that – not from the book, but I’m sure it was in some press release from the Nats. From memory, just about every example that they quoted was incorrect – at least insofar as they said it was a government controlled program. They were all from institutions deciding that they needed to set up a system. Most of them were in fact funded by the Iwi’s from their own funds.

    But it entered popular right wing myth.

  38. Michele Cabiling 38

    The dickwads who have been running around campus since I was a student demanding a “free education” never cease to amaze me. I used to wise them up. As Milton Friedmand famously stated: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” What they actually mean by a “free education” is “a fully taxpayer-funded education.”

    I’m happy to revisit this idea. Those studying useful and productive subjects like mathematics, law, commerce, medicine, nursing, property management, economics, engineering and the hard sciences should be fully taxpayer-funded — with a proviso that all the PC race, gender class waffle be excised from the curriculum.

    Those undertaking useless “personal interest” degrees like sociology, social anthropology, [ugly] Wimmins Studies, Maori Studies, Fine Arts and the like should be obliged to meet the full cost of their courses.

    These are degrees that equip the holder only to be an angry social activist or work in a vestigial government department. Indeed, they are designed by their architects to do just that.

    Send some market signals to our prospective students and turn out some graduates who aren’t a total waste of oxygen.

  39. AncientGeek 39

    In reality, Brash was leading an assault on the concept of private property. That people do not have the right to put funds in the pursuit of goals that they found important. ie the equivalent of Rotary couldn’t fund a scholarship because someone else found it offensive. I don’t think he was expecting to mainly find the Iwi doing it.

    captcha: securities Hazzard
    mis-spelling?

  40. AncientGeek 40

    Michele: I did two vocational degrees in “useful and productive subjects”. In both cases I never really used them directly in my subsequent career. First was in science, and the second in management. The second was after 4 years working in management – the course convinced me that I really didn’t give a damn about managing things – I liked building things. Thats what I do these days.

    I’ve done a few part-time degrees after that for myself in what you’re referring to as “useless “personal interest’ degrees”. It is surprising how often I refer to them in the things I build. After all they’re designed to be used by humans, and you really have to understand your target market.

    All of which is a way of saying that you’re talking a crock of sh*t. But at least now you’ve got it short enough and coherent for me to be interested in responding…..

  41. Pablo 41

    So Michelle you have a degree in property management? It all becomes very clear to me. (I had the pleasure of a couple of years at Jones Lang Lasalle in the UK, so I know all about property grads).

    Surely you rejected education/indoctrination before you could submit to their mind control?

  42. Michele Cabiling 42

    AG, after undertaking your leftist social science “Race, Gender. Class” indoctrination you have clearly become an angry (albeit in an advanced state of decreptitude) social activist.

    Winston Churchill once said: “If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain.”

    I rest my case, Maybe Alzheimers and a second childhood kicking in …

  43. Hey ‘chele, Churchill was a dick. You been transferring inspirational quotes into that notebook of yours? Oh and if you think Property Management is a real degree then you’re even more deluded than I thought. Don’t they teach it at tech mostly?

  44. Pablo 44

    Michelle, Winston was a war criminal in the Second World War and criminally negligent in the First.

    This week’s tip: try googling “Galipoli”

  45. Pablo 45

    Rob, at JLL my boss told me that property grads were toffs who were too dumb to get into Oxbridge. Lots of Tim Nice But Dim characters. Nice blokes most of them, just not the sharpest tools in the shed.

  46. Oh and if you think Property Management is a real degree then you’re even more deluded than I thought.

    Come now, Robinsod – the world’s great universities were built on scholarship in the worthy and useful field of property management. They certainly didn’t get where they were by spending centuries studying “useless” things like literature and the arts now, did they?

  47. AncientGeek 47

    Winston was hardly the model of consistency. If you look at him then you’d have to throw out any pretense of finding over-riding theories. Have a look at his wikipedia article some time.

    In youth he was a extreme imperial conservative. Read the war correspondence stuff from the Boer war.

    Afterwards I think he was in the radical wing of one of the conservatives, but then jumped ship and joined the liberals. Eventually he jumped back into the conservatives.

    After WW1 he opposed the communists of russia, mainly for their repudiation of private property. In WW2 he did exactly the same things he’d fought in the 20’s to ensure that Britian was able to pursue the war. Britain was more socialist under Churchill in the war, than under Atlee after the war.

    Basically he was a political pragmatist – do what you have to, to get the job done.

  48. Ah yes, Milt. I stand corrected. It was first practiced in the 13th century by monks was it not?

    I’m starting to see where ‘chele’s insecurities come from.

  49. Michele Cabiling 49

    IrishBill says: Dull and racist. If you persist you will be banned again.

  50. r0b 50

    “Winston Churchill once said: “If a man is not a socialist by the time he is 20, he has no heart. If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40, he has no brain.’

    Actually Michele, it’s not at all clear who said this “first”, or even if Winston said it all:

    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/5952/unquote.html

  51. Michele Cabiling 51

    Yah we can split hairs … it HAS been attributed to a number of commentators … but it was quoted to make a point not get into a pissing contest with anal retentives.

  52. r0b 52

    not get into a pissing contest with anal retentives.

    Damn the facts eh! That’s the spirit!

    Ciao Michele, I’m off to drinkies.

  53. Michele Cabiling 53

    Just don’t let anyone piss on your trousers instead of the trough mate …

  54. AncientGeek 54

    rOb that sounds like a good idea – especially after the traffic I just went through. Yep – the traffic site shows lots of black on the motorway. I’m off to the dogs bollocks for a wee pint before the karoke starts..

    ‘chele, you’re starting to sound human – keep it up… Much more pleasant

    captcha: bomb less
    I kid you not – don’t let the president see that…..

  55. r0b 55

    Just don’t let anyone piss on your trousers instead of the trough mate

    Well I’ll be – some actual good advice from Michele! For males at least.

  56. burt 56

    So nobody else has any better ideas on how to encourage repayment of ballooning student debt than John Key. National wins.

  57. r0b 57

    Easy Burt. 15% early repayment bonus. (And five minute Abs!)

  58. burt 58

    I’m stunned by this thread. All you people who have championed interest free student loans for the last 3 years are now bagging Key for saying they will remain. I guess it’s not the interest free student loans you really care about.

    Key’s not a stupid man, he understands finance. The 10% (which I think should have been indexed to the OCR – EG OCR 1.75%) makes it expedient for people to repay their loan rather than earn interest from having the repayments invested elsewhere.

  59. Fred 59

    Tough isn’t it? Sticking blindly to principles becomes dogma while pragmatism intelligently applied makes good policy, say hello to our next prime minister.

  60. outofbed 60

    Fred doing that many policy u turns is not pragmatic it shows a lack of principles.

    Here is list of the top of my head
    Cullen Fund
    Iraq war
    Kiwi saver
    Strike wing
    Kyoto/Global warming
    Maori seats
    Student Loans
    Market rents
    4 weeks annual leave

    There may be more But pragmatism intelligently applied ?
    Give me a break, I would imagine you don’t support or join the National Party to become a centrist and mimic every thing that another party does?
    I know I would rather not have my party in power if that power had been won by essentially by being dishonest to themselves and their supporters.
    Hey but that’s me other people may be different

  61. Fred 61

    So how would you define purity of principles, there’s a difference between being in opposition and effectively performing that role and committing to communicated policy to be implemented when in power. How would you know what the “u turns” would be in relation to any of the points you list if National was in power after the next election. Pure speculation. what I think is irrelevant but here it is
    *Cullen Fund – what’s that? Some money that Cullen invested our behalf, how’s it going, who benefits?.
    *Iraq war – Americans out of control chasing oil, they’ll implode soon.
    *Kiwi saver – depends on what’s done with it – hope there’s some fund managers out there prepared to invest in NZ but who really trusts them?
    *Strike wing – Always was and always will be a bit player.
    *Kyoto – If it is a problem won’t fix it, not while we are happy to dig up our coal and sell exploration rights to the southern basin.
    *Maori seats – Yes they need to go, we’re all New Zealanders, and should speak te reo.
    *Student loans – a shocking bribe last election, can’t be undone.
    *market rents – yep what’s wrong with that.
    *4 weeks annual leave – Who gets this? In addition to statutory days off?

  62. burt 62

    rOb

    Easy Burt. 15% early repayment bonus.

    So rich pricks that can afford to repay it early get 15% off while people who can’t need to pay it all? It’s right wing ideas this that make Key look like a lefty!

  63. r0b 63

    Burt: So nobody else has any better ideas on how to encourage repayment of ballooning student debt than John Key.

    More Burt: So rich pricks that can afford to repay it early get 15% off while people who can’t need to pay it all? It’s right wing ideas this that make Key look like a lefty!

    Make up your mind Burt.

  64. burt 64

    Matthew Pilott

    They originally protested at the cost of the scheme, yet plan to make it cost more than it currently does by giving incentives for repayments. I doubt the incentives will be offset by voluntary savings.

    Labour should, as an election policy, allow individuals to invest money in student load for zero percent return. The people who support interest free student loans wouldn’t need to worry about the cost to the tax payer. You you invest your own money for zero interest so students can have interest free student loans?

  65. burt 65

    rOb

    Explain how a 15% early payment discount would work. Would it be 15% of the entire balance if it was repaid early – what is early when the loan has no actual repayment date?

    Make up my mind… I was pointing out that your idea was actually more ‘offensive’ than Key’s as far as favouring the rich pricks. But perhaps if you explain the idea rather than make jokes about 5 minute abs we could debate it.

    As it stands – still nobody on this thread has any better ideas than Key for how to address students not repaying their loans because it’s interest free. Although I think having the rate set at 10% rather than OCR plus a margin is as stupid as setting a rich prick tax threshold at $60K without an annual review cycle. The OCR rtae has been steadily rising since Labour entered office but if National win this year it might get back to 4.5% where it was before Labour went mad with public spending. If the OCR was back at 4.5% the 10% bonus would be excessive.

  66. Burt – I’d say rob was taking the piss (hence the “5 minute abs” remark) you need to get a sense of humour bro. Oh and people already have to pay their loans back compulsorily (trust me I know, the IRD takes a sizable amount of cash out of my income for just that purpose).

    On a completely unrelated topic James has posted this at our blog:

    http://newzblog.wordpress.com/2008/02/02/does-davey-run-curia-out-of-national-hq/

    Can anyone confirm this?

  67. burt 67

    I wouldn’t invest my money for zero percent return, especially when the OCR is sitting at 8.25%. For this reason I think interest free loans is a crap idea. It was a popular on the fly election winning policy in 2005 – so Key is correct to point out that it’s not expedient to reverse the policy.

    Personally I’m a big supporter of student loans as a concept, I always have been since I came from a poor family and couldn’t afford to go to Uni when I left high school. I took a gap year to save some money and…. I’m still working 24 years later.

    However as I’m not prepared to invest my own money for zero percent return I don’t see why I should expect the govt to invest other peoples money for zero percent return. I guess it’s part of not be a socialist – I don’t expect other people to do things I wouldn’t simply because I like the outcome.

    So lets separate the debate – interest free loans is not the only way to provide

  68. burt 68

    Robinsod

    That’s a priceless link. You guys have gone completely bananas banning people for asking if the standard was being hosted on a Labour party server and then you post a link like this. You just don’t understand the word hypocrite do you!

  69. Um Burt, I’m not part of the standard, that kinda makes hypocrisy a hard charge to lay. Judging by your defensive response I guess you didn’t know about where curia is run from either.

  70. burt 70

    Robinsod

    If I paying for it I certainly care – are you saying you think it’s being funded secretly from the National party? If so is that going to make what the standard might have been doing OK – you know the drill – others were doing it too. Or is it going to be a case of hold them both to account. I’m all for holding both to account – how about you ?

    captcha: undiluted colony – Excellent.

  71. Nah, I checked the standard’s details and it’s not being run off labour servers anymore and by the looks of it was only there for a short period of time. I’ve also got no problem with DPF being housed by National if he’s paying rent etc. I’m just interested is all…

  72. Draco TB 72

    I wouldn’t invest my money for zero percent return, especially when the OCR is sitting at 8.25%. For this reason I think interest free loans is a crap idea.

    Student Loans do have a return although there is no interest charged (Unless you leave the country). The return is in a more educated populace that can increase productivity making NZ wealthier overall. They will also be able to operate more effectively within the market and so make the market a freer place to do business allowing those gains to be consolidated and built upon.

    This is the reason we ended up with ‘free’ education in the first place. For this reason I would like to see tertiary education become completely free (as long as you stayed in the country for a contract length). As society gets more complex the population needs a better education as such it is best if the community supplies access to educational facilities to provide it.

  73. r0b 73

    As it stands – still nobody on this thread has any better ideas than Key for how to address students not repaying their loans because it’s interest free.

    Sorry Burt, I was in a hurry before and made a quick flippant reply, which seems to have caused you some confusion.

    You are a fan of Mr Key’s 10% payment discount, you think it’s a great solution to the student loan repayment question, you challenged us to come up with something better. I flippantly replied that a 15% discount would be better.

    Explain how a 15% early payment discount would work.

    It would work exactly the same as Mr Key’s 10% discount, only it would be better.

    But perhaps if you explain the idea rather than make jokes about 5 minute abs we could debate it.

    It’s the same as Mr Key’s idea only better. Yes, ‘Sod is correct, the 5 minute abs thing is a joke (if you haven’t seen the movie “There’s something about Mary”, well – you should).

    As it stands – still nobody on this thread has any better ideas than Key for how to address students not repaying their loans because it’s interest free.

    The whole interest free thing is a red herring Burt. Many students were failing to repay their loans long before they were interest free. The real question, to my mind, is why we even have a system that lumbers young people with insane amounts of debt.

  74. Another u-turn from the scumbag master of all flip-flops, ShonKey!

  75. burt 75

    all_your_base

    Quite a few comments have disappeared from the end of this thread? There was a debate between myself and Ancient Greek that was quite interesting – it’s gone !

    rOb

    The whole interest free thing is a red herring Burt.

    It seems you have missed a few vital facts: See Average student now owes $28,838

    The Government’s student loan scheme annual report showed the total amount owed leapt 25% in two years, to $9.4 billion in 2007, while voluntary repayments plummeted more than 40% to $142 million.

    But also what is very interesting from that link:

    Students can borrow up to $150 a week from the Government, a figure which has not changed since the student loan scheme was introduced in 1992.

    This just proves the importance of indexing tax rates/thresholds and benefit to keep pace with inflation. It’s just laughable that Labour hasn’t changed the weekly allowance in 8 years. It had remained the same for 7 years under the failed policies of the 90’s and it’s still unchanged after 8 years of Labour. I guess Labour don’t want to lift this amount or student debt would just go completely bananas as students borrowed enough to live on.

    How much was $150/week in 1992 ? I reckon it was probably about 30 hours of minimum wage after tax, what is it now ? Come on Labour – get it together.

  76. burt 76

    Speaking of indexing. Look at these figures in relation to the rich prick tax threshold.

    Cullen Over-Taxing 352,000 Kiwis

    “In 1999 Labour introduced a new top tax rate of 39 cents in the dollar,” Mrs Roy said.

    “At that time, Dr Cullen stated in Parliament that:
    ‘ninety-five percent of people will not be asked to pay more tax. Instead, only the top five percent of income earners will pay more’.

    “The promise to tax only the top five percent of earners was never kept: had it been, the Minister would have adjusted the initial $60,000 threshold so that by the 2005/06 financial year only those earning over $79,000 would have had to pay the top tax rate of 39 percent.

    “Instead, the threshold was left at $60,000 – and 352,000 New Zealanders were over-taxed by a total of $273 million – an average of $775.56 each – for the 2005/06 financial year. Given that the level of over-taxation was initially only $60 million in 2000/01, it is clear that this situation is steadily growing worse.

    “Over-taxing 352,000 Kiwis has contributed to Dr Cullen’s huge surpluses year after year, and shows that he has a complete inability to balance the country’s books.

    Imagine what the threshold would be today if it should have been $79,000 as at the end of tax year 2006!

  77. SL diaspora 77

    The 10% incentive is a fantastic idea, especially if you are like myself, living overseas with 2x the average loan to repay. You see some of us had to go overseas to actually find work with the plan to one day return home (might I add with a high skill level and international experience/contacts-better than being a shop girl). I’ve discussed this with many of the SL diaspora and have discovered that the ‘interest free’ debacle for kiwi residents has been a disincentive to pay our loans back. Lets just throw in the old ‘disenfranchisment’ after 3 yrs overseas and we don’t have a voice! Great election strategy Labour, John Keys may have come home but we’ve got the message loud & clear, so why pay it back!! And just a note for the message above about the irresponsible 30 somethings with large student loans, you need to look at the political and economic history to ascertain why the loan take up was so high during this period….do the words liberalisation mean anything to you! This is the generation that were left standing on their own, no interest cuts/rebates, Student Allowance rates were highly targeted and unemployment was strife. Yes, I take it the ‘interest free resident’ act wasn’t retrospective. This generation got done!!

  78. lprent 78

    Quite a few comments have disappeared from the end of this thread? There was a debate between myself and Ancient Greek that was quite interesting – it’s gone !

    My fault – I had a database glitch a while after moving the site, and some records were lost after the database checked and repaired itself. It appeared to be from a difference in the collation and charset in MySQL on the new server after I moved a recent MySql database into a 5.0x version and from win32 to linux. You will notice that some of the older pages have interesting characters in them.

    I have the missing records in the hourly backup from 0200 just before the system went down, and I extracted the missing records from the backup database last weekend. I’ll insert the missing records at the same time. But that will be this weekend at the earliest.

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