Good to see Labour joining the Greens and Progressives with a universal student allowance policy. It has been a crying shame that many people who are trying to get an education and whose parents can’t support them have had to borrow to get a fraction of the money that one gets on a benefit or in low-paid employment. The current allowance scheme is ripped off by too many children of wealthy farmers and businesspeople who hide their incomes and failed to deliver to too many who really do need assistance. Now, everyone will be offered the same assistance no matter their family background, which is the way it should be.
It also shows that Labour recognises where investment needs to be made towards a better future. Not the Nats’ stupid tests and report cards, a genuine investment in education.
Hopefully, with the allowance universal they will also remove or at least relax the rules around other income while studying. It’s impossible to survive on the living cost loan/allowance by itself and difficult to find work where you can consistently get enough money but not too much that you start losing your allowance.
From yesterday’s announcements and this one today, it looks to me like Labour is going to do what the writers on The Standard have consistently argued they should do. Move to the Left by announcing popular left-wing policies. National’s strategy depends on cuddling up with Labour so that people see little risk in a change and fall for the ‘they’re all the same’ rhetoric, rather than looking at the substance of National’s policies (privatising ACC, health-care, and new public assets, tax cuts for the rich etc). By distancing itself from National and taking on left-wing policies that are also populist, Labour not only improves its own electability it also places National in a dilemma. It either has to adopt its natural reactionary stance, meaning it opposes popular policies, or move left too, adopting left-wing ideas. Either is a victory for left-wing politics and weakens National.
[lprent: Amended to conform with the human-centric policy. Machines don’t think. Tut-tut Steve.] [Sometimes I don’t, either. Thanks, Lynn]