Green Party Tertiary Education Policy a Positive Step Forward – NZUSA

Green Party Leader James Shaw was on campus last week to announce their new Tertiary Education policy to a packed Union Hall.

Joined by Maungakiekie candidate Chlöe Swarbrick and Dunedin North candidate Niki Bould, Shaw revealed that the policy will include a universal student allowance, which will also see a 20 percent increase on current payments.

The move comes on top of pledges to remove the 7 EFTS cap, and free-off peak transport for all tertiary students, with the party claiming the latter will save students approximately $33 a week on average.

“The rise in the cost of living and higher rents are making life increasingly hard for students, and the Green Party has a plan to fix that,” according to Green Party leader James Shaw.

Their policy, “will reverse National’s short-sighted cuts and help encourage more students into post-graduate study,” he added, “which we need if we are going to grow a smart, innovative economy.”

The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) believes the policy to be a positive step forward in improving students’ lives.

“We have long said that tertiary study should be a way out of poverty, not a way into it. We’re glad that the Greens have heeded our calls, particularly around removing the lifetime limit on student loan borrowing and allowances, and moving towards a universal student allowance for all those in tertiary study.”

NZUSA President Jonathan Gee argued that “a real plan towards a universal allowance should be a priority for a future government.”

OUSA President Hugh Baird explained that “These are policies in which OUSA endorses. It’s great to see such a student focus.”

“In terms of the student allowance rise, it’s something that students have been screaming about for quite a while, so it’s great to see so many parties committing to the increase and seeing this as an important topic.”

At the announcement, Shaw described the situation the Greens find themselves in as “the fight of their lives,” as several opinion polls have them wavering around the 5 percent threshold. Radio New Zealand’s Poll of Polls has them on 5.5 percent, with National on 41.3 percent, Labour on 40.5 percent, and NZ First on 7.5 percent.

This article first appeared in Issue 23, 2017.
Posted 10:37am Sunday 17th September 2017 by Joe Higham.