Trevor Mallard's proposed student Savings and Loan (S&L) scheme has both good and bad. Story here. And let me make clear that my use of the term savings and loan scheme, ie., S&L, is purely for convenience, and is no reference at all to the S&L disaster in the US some years ago. Honestly it's not.
Anyway, the good news is that Labour has signalled, at least in part, that it recognises that education and paying for it is the responsibility of parents. And it's recognised that government itself has no ability to administer Mallard's S&L scheme. Great. That's as far as the good news goes.
The bad news is that taxpayers will be milked once again to pay for Mallard's S&L scheme, or at least to kick off each student's account. As with Labour's 'Welfare for Families' programme, they would rather make beneficiaries of New Zealanders than allow them their own money back by lowering taxes.
And the usual student politician suspects - fresh from arguing that students should be compelled by government force to join their student unions - have been bleating that taxpayers should be compelled to pay for the chosen lifestyles of these student politicians. Look for these bludgers to be sucking on the state tit for a lifetime.
What's my solution to help out students then? Charge 'em less and help 'em save. You can do both by cutting taxes to the bone - in fact as a libertarian I'd advocate cutting the bone as well. But the more cuts the better. Giving back the $9 billion surplus to those who paid for it would be a start. If Australia can slash taxes after an election, surely we can do so before? The May 19 budget could be a good time. (No, I'm not holding my breath either.)
But it would work: lower taxes means people have their own money back to help them save with, without then needing a welfare top-up from the government; lower taxes mean educational institutes themselves will have lower costs, so lower fees; lower taxes means low-income working families in Porirua and Mangere aren't being stolen from to pay for kids from Remuera and Khandallah to go to university.
So why not slash taxes to help parents fund their own savings scheme? This Government would rather make beneficiaries of those people not already made beneficiaries by 'Welfare for Families.' They'd rather we all mooched off the state.