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The Government's student loan and allowance changes are so poorly researched that the Minister doesn't even know how they will interact with other key policies, the Green Party said today.
"Steven Joyce's answers to my question in the House today show how little time and effort have gone in to creating these policies that will have a big impact on young families and those on a low income", said Green Party student spokesperson Holly Walker.
"The combined impact of the student loan repayment changes with last year's Kiwisaver and Working for Families changes will be a 7.6 percent increase in the effective marginal tax rate for working parents with student loans.
"The Minister admitted in Parliament this afternoon that he didn't even know this was the case.
"When the Government doesn't even know how changes will impact on the weekly budgets of thousands of young families, how can we have any confidence in his claims that graduates won't be adversely affected?
"A better alternative would be a progressive repayment rate that kicks in when graduates are actually earning higher incomes so that those who can afford to repay their loans do so, while those on lower incomes have a chance to find their feet first.
"Progressive repayment rates will encourage graduates to stay in New Zealand, contribute to the economy, and pay their student loans off faster, without putting the squeeze on young families."