Remember how Labour trumped National on the eve of the last election with its interest-free student loan policy? Colin Espiner wrties in The Press today (not yet on line) that another student election bribe is in the wind.
It is understood Labour is considering a massive boost to the student allowance scheme, including a payment of some $350 a week for study courses of 35 hours a week or more. That would put student allowances far ahead of any other standard benefit payment. It would cost a lot of money, but may not have the same impact as interest-free loans did in 2005.
Students and student politicians might think this is a good thing and they may be able to make a case for a small increase. But a $350 a week allowance, so much higher than any other benefit, is not the best use of money in the over-stretched education budget.
Students and their representatives put a lot of energy into crying poor, but instead of worrying about loans and allowances they ought to be worrying about the quality of their education.
Every dollar that goes to a student allowance or interest free loan, is a dollar less for teachers and teaching resources. Improving those would be better use of taxpayers dollars than an over-generous student allowance scheme.