Sunday, August 07, 2005

Loan Free

Nick emailed me saying that if I didn't post something soon he would demote me to "Intern" so like Jim Sutton in court here I am against my will.
When I first heard about Labour's "No Interest" Student Loan lolly scramble, like "Foot and Mouth disease on Waiheke Island" I thought the Australian media had mis-reported the policy, surely the loan would still contain some interest somehow? at the very least adjustment for inflation? Apparently not, Labour is content to mortgage the country's future for the sake of vote-buying.

I can hear the squeal-in-unison "But so are National's tax cuts" No, they are not. Lowering the tax burden on working New Zealanders is a core principle of the National Party. Labour said as recently as 2 months ago that there would be no radical changes to student loans. A bit of poll trouble and voila - a loan policy more radical than the Green Party's.

So you may have to forgive me for my cynical attititude about this policy given that
A) I paid off my own student loan voluntarily and in full two years ago, and
B) I live and work overseas so I would not recieve the interest discount anyway.

Every person with a student loan has signed a contract that clearly states the conditions of repaying the loan, if you can not or choose not to understand the consequences of that contract, then you don't deserve to be in tertiary study. With this policy it's as if Labour have decided to move the goalposts halfway through the game, or in my case, after it's been over for two years. Unlike many who joined the "brain-drain" from New Zealand I busted my ass to get my loan balance down and eventually paid off before i took off overeseas, but yet now I see those who have skipped the country without paying their due will recieve an amnesty on penalty payments for avoiding those repayment obligations.
So by taking personal responsibility for one's own debt and playing by the rules I am far worse off if I had skipped the country without paying my dues.
Thank you NZ Labour party. Celebrating and rewarding medocrity for over 60 years.


Nigel Kearney said...

Good post. And the extra cost of the policy is just another reason for you not to come back. Sad.

Don't forget to vote though.

Kevin said...

I note some of the harshest critics of this scheme (Bill English, Deborah Codington recieved an absolutely free tertiary education) It is also worth noting the cost is minimal compared to the defence busget 550 million bucks to upgrade some copters. Nice self righteousness in your post - you'd do well in Salem circa the 1700s

Maxine said...

I just checked my drivers' licence to be sure and no, my name is not Deborah Coddington and I don't have a penis so I doubt that I am Bill English either.

If meeting the obligations I agreed to when I signed the student loan contract makes me self-righteous than so be it.

Jordan said...

Interesting point of view Maxine. Do you think that the consequences of flawed policies of the past (e.g. tuition fees growing at 15%, unfair student loans, etc) should be retained in perpetuity, simply because fixing them would mean that people who suffered under them are worse off than future students?

As a matter of principle, the Labour Party stands for making tertiary education more accessible. The loans policy change will be a major step in that direction. Not doing it because others suffered unfair policies in the past is just dumb.

Would you extend that to other areas of policy?

Do you think we should have kept unemployment at 7%, because cutting it below 4% makes life unfair for those who were on the dole five years ago?

Do you believe that we shouldn't make GP visits cheaper, because that's unfair on those who paid higher fees in the past?

I don't think it's a very sensible position to take. Your self interest seems to be getting in the way of a sustainable logical response to the policy.

Maxine said...

Anyone taking out a student loan signed a contract explicity stating the terms and consequences of the loan, I do not recall anyone being forced to sign a contract and take out a loan against their own will since the loan scheme began.
But now, when students have finished their university years and and realised the amount of debt they have signed up for, they are horrified because they "can't afford" to pay it back.
Do the graduates take responsibility for their own actions in taking on debt? Do they work to pay the loan off under the conditions they signed up for?
No way.
The graduates cry about their "burdern" and "generational theft" and expect other taxpayers to bail them out of their own debt.
I know it's not 'cool' but I believe in personal responsiblity.
The only difference between NZ First's superannuation spend-up and the Labour's free loans vote-buying is demographic.

And also, Labour "cut" unemployment?
Employers cut unemployment.
When unemployment levels invietably go back up, will you then say Labour has "cut" employment?