Auckland Scoop

Labour urges government to rethink cutbacks to postgraduate allowances

Labour’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Training spokesperson Grant Robertson will visit the University of Auckland next week as Labour urges the government to reinstate postgraduate allowances.

Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
Deputy Leader
Tertiary Education, Skills and Training Spokesperson
12 July 2012 Media Statement
As students return to university campuses for the second semester the government should seize the opportunity and reverse its abolition of allowances for postgraduate students, Labour’s Tertiary Education, Skills and Training spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

“The government has acknowledged that next year 5000 students will no longer get allowances for postgraduate study. Many of them have made plans to do courses on the basis of getting allowances, and will be unable to continue them.

“This is an enormous waste of potential. New Zealand needs more people doing postgraduate study, not fewer, if we are to grow an innovative economy,” Grant Robertson said.

His comments come at the start of a series of visits he is making to various university campuses as they begin their second semester. He will visit Canterbury and Otago universities this week, followed by Auckland, Victoria and Massey next week.

“Otago University has calculated that 20 per cent of its postgraduate students will be affected by the abolition of allowances. This includes 155 doctoral students, 305 Masters students and 104 other postgraduate students.

“These are the people who will help drive our economy and society forward, yet the government is taking away study support that will allow them to do that. It is short-sighted penny pinching.

“It is good to hear that Otago has raised concerns with the government about the impact of the abolition of the allowances, and I urge other universities to do the same.

“Labour sees tertiary education as an investment in our future, not a cost to be cut as the current government does.
“Certainly there is a need for a comprehensive re- look at student support to ensure that it is fair and equitable; I have heard from many people who are concerned that allowances are gained by students whose parents put income through trusts, while others from more modest background do not get access.

“But the current government is just tinkering. What is needed is a system that means that is fair and that allows people, no matter what their background, to achieve their potential. In the meantime, National’s cuts to postgraduate allowances are shutting down opportunities and they need to be reversed,” said Grant Robertson.

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