Wednesday, 27 July 2005

Election bribes for students

If you're still wondering why Cullen insists his $7 billion surplus is not a surplus, hints are emerging all the time. You might recall some weeks ago it was announced he 'found' an extra $500 million to pay for new roads. Yesterday there was enough left over to pay for $300 million of election bribes so that students can take out no-interest loans at taxpayers' expense.

Labour says it will ease the brain drain. But Dr Brash said the Government could "just as easily give every New Zealander $1000 to stay in New Zealand". "This is the Government that said just a couple of months ago there wasn't enough money for any kind of tax relief for hard-working New Zealanders." Labour's scheme would also cause an explosion in student debt. "Why would you not borrow to the limit of your capacity, to the limit of the rules if you're not going to pay interest on it?", Dr Brash said.

Indeed, why not? The Dominion points out that, so far at least, National promises "more money in the hand through tax cuts": that's your money in your hand (although it is so far not so much a promise as a promise of a promise). Labour's strategy on the other hand is to promise more of someone else's money in your hand, while the government's own hand dives deeper into your pocket.

This won't be the last time this election that election bribes are rolled out, nor will it be the last time you have me reminding you of H.L. Mencken's comment that "an election is an advance auction of stolen goods." Just don't forget whose money it is with which you, or your children, are being bribed.
[UPDATE: GMan and Cathy are questioning the "rather conveniently round" $300 million figure. As Cathy says, "The costings should be redone on the basis that every student maxes their student loan every year. They will....just watch." Why wouldn't they?]


  1. I have a substantial student loan. I am endeavouring to pay it offas quickly as possible. Why bother?! Perhaps someone should explain why I would bother making any voluntary payments on my loan if there is no interest? This has to be the most short-sighted blatent election bribe I've ever heard of. It can only result in more people taking out the maximum possible loan. I certainly would have.

  2. More to the point, rich kids can pay their fees with the student loan, invest an equivalent amount of money from their parents, reap the interest, then pay off the student loan, all on the taxpayers dime. Grrrrrrrrr.

    Labour screws their supposed constituency.


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