The Green Party is disappointed with the Labour Party’s decision to reverse their three free years education policy and back down on their commitment to postgraduate student allowances.
Barrier- free tertiary education and universal student allowances are critical to ensure students not only survive, but thrive. Recovering and rebuilding from COVID-19 relies on equitable access to education.
Chlöe Swarbrick, Green Party spokesperson for Tertiary Education, said today:
"We're proud to have worked with Labour this past term of Government to remove one of the burdens of debt through first year fees-free university and trades training.
“It's really disappointing to hear Labour’s plans to end the planned roll-out of debt-free undergraduate study, especially at a time when education is being pinpointed as a critical requirement of our COVID-19 economic rebuild.
“This will mean students struggle more than ever to learn and train in careers where they can contribute to their communities.
“For three years, I worked as Greens' Tertiary Education spokesperson with Minister Hipkins attempting to reinstate postgraduate student allowances as Labour had also pledged to do in the leadup to the 2017 general election.
“It is unfortunate that Labour is stepping back from their commitment to fix one of the former National Government's cuts to student support, and demonstrates why the Greens need to be at the table next term.
“We have a plan to ensure everybody has access to an education with a universal student allowance with a Guaranteed Minimum Income, as part of our Poverty Action Plan, so students can thrive in their communities, learn and contribute.
“The first stage of the Green Party’s Guaranteed Minimum Income includes making all full time students, including postgraduates, eligible for the student allowance. Once fully implemented, all students will be eligible for the same $325 a week Guaranteed Minimum Income as everyone else.
“Large student debt, stress and anxiety is not an inevitable part of the university student experience - it is a decision made by politicians”.
Find out more about the Green Party Poverty Action Plan and Guaranteed Minimum Income, which would be available for students, here: https://www.greens.org.nz/poverty_action_plan