Students are the only group in society expected to borrow just to get by. We believe that students should be supported so that they can focus on learning the skills they need to contribute to a smart, innovative economy and a fairer society. It’s difficult to do that when you are constantly worried about making ends meet. Tertiary study should be a way out of poverty, not a way into it.
The Green Party will:
- Make all post-graduate students eligible for student allowances, as a step towards a truly universal student allowance.
- Increase all student allowances by 20 percent.
- Make buses and trains free off-peak for all tertiary students and apprentices.
- Increase funding for tertiary institutions to make sure they are resourced to support students with disabilities.
- Restore the ability of students in long courses to access loans and allowances beyond seven years.
As well as these Green Party promises, we support Labour’s three free years of tertiary education plan.
A universal allowance for post-graduate students
The Green Party will make all post-graduate students eligible for a student allowance, as a first step towards making all students eligible. New Zealand needs smart tertiary policy that values the contribution of higher education to our economy and society. Making all post-graduate students eligible for allowances is estimated to cost $300 million a year.
Raising student allowances
The Green Party will increase all student allowances by 20 percent. A student under 24 years old not living with their parents would receive $39.50 more every week, and a student over 24 not living with their parents would receive an extra $47.50 a week. A single parent who is studying will be around $130 better off every week. This is part of our Mending the Safety Net welfare and tax reform policy that will make everyone who earns less than $150,000 better off than they are now. This policy also includes raising the minimum wage to $17.75 and restoring the Training Incentive Allowance to help people on benefits gain new skills and qualifications.
Making tertiary education more affordable for students is a commitment under our Confidence and Supply Agreement, and we are working to deliver on this. Policies like Free Fees have made a great start, but there is more to be done.