What you left out of that equation, "chris", is just how easy it is to set us overseas borrowers up as a target, especially media so readily accepts whichever narrative the authorities, political, bureaucratic or economic, put forward. And especially because we're overseas. We must be living the high life jet-setting around the place or something.
But what worries me about this border arrest thing is: arrest for what? The only specific thing I've seen mentioned, apart from "the worst of the defaulters" (define "worst"!) is unpaid child support. But really, what crime have these "worst of the defaulters" committed? Can people in New Zealand be arrested if they default on their mortgage or some other kind of loan? Or is missing a student loan repayment now some kind of tax evasion? Heh, if it is, it may well be worth talking to a lawyer. You know how jealously China guards its sovereignty - how would they react to the allegation that NZ is now trying to tax my Chinese income?
Maybe it's time to start looking up which opposition MPs are responsible for these issues.
Definitely it's long since time to get these clowns out of the Beehive and replace them with people who have the imagination to dream up positive, constructive ways to make it actually, genuinely easy for us to pay our loans back rather than just puff their chests out and swagger around menacingly like unusually dimwitted schoolyard bullies.
This budget is all about balancing the books. So let's take a quick look at our fair nation's biggest income generating activity: tourism. This alone is worth $23 billion to our economy, making it really quite important.
So why do so many people come here to visit? In reality, for the vast majority it is not so they can hang out in a convention centre and eat McDonald's while they gamble at a casino. Most come to enjoy our unique natural resources and our so-called "clean" landscapes.
But if we don't look after our natural resources now, in years to come our prize location will become about as popular as visiting Aaron Gilmore after a few wines.
There is absolutely no diligence of this kind whatsoever with regard to student debt. In that case, the deal is very different.
I remember one of my Russian lecturers likening student loans to the redemption payments the newly emancipated serfs in Russia had to make. The redemption payments were like student loans, owed to the government, but to pay for the land that had been taken off the landlords and given to the serfs. Some managed to pay it off, and some, like Lenin's family, got rich, but the majority couldn't and the outstanding debt ballooned to the point were the government simply had to cancel it all. It would be nice if our government did the same, but to do so they'd have to actually properly fund education, including, shock, horror, "useless" things like the humanities.
Which means you’re often better off on the dole in NZ than overseas working for minimum wage while looking for work. I’d like to think that’s not the design intention, but I am afraid that it is.
Nah, I reckon it's better living in a third world country earning a wage that pays for an alright life in a third world country. 'Cept, of course, it's not easy to pay off the loan, specially with the current exchange rates.
Back in '99 I phoned IRD to tell them I'd be going to China and to explain that I'd be earning the then equivalent of about NZ$500/month and I couldn't see how I'd be able to make the minimum repayments. I was told, tough, you have to pay anyway. About 6 months later a friend got a job on the outskirts of Shanghai earning about the same. She'd phoned IRD and had been told she could apply for some financial hardship thing and get off the compulsory repayments.
it might even be cheaper for them to come back. Maybe.
Big maybe. There's a lot of us and reports are jobs in NZ are hard to come by.
Student loan borrowers who have defaulted on their repayments could be arrested at the border under new sanctions in Budget 2013 in a drive to increase student loan repayments.
So Corrections will be getting more money to build debtor's prisons?! But later in the article:
The Government will extend child support border arrest sanctions to non-compliant overseas based borrowers with high levels of default on their student loan repayments.
Earth to National: You want those loans paid back? Well, do something about the exchange rate and change the system to make it easier to pay. Surely you should be able to set up cooperative deals with other countries' tax authorities for them to collect repayments directly out of pay packets on IRD's behalf, starting with what surely must be the low-hanging fruit of Australia, UK, US, Canada and Ireland? Geez, I'd be quite happy for China's tax department to take loan repayments and sent them to IRD, save me several TEU loads' of hassle, expense, and worry. But this constant bashing of overseas based borrowers, waving big sticks at us and setting us up as public enemy #2 really doesn't help, especially considering how many of us left to get jobs in the first place.
Thanks Jackie and Islander.
A propos of precious little, but.... Well, it has music, at least. I just saw Sky Kiwi's retweet of a Weibo post by Whale Watch Kaikoura. The text is about the Marine Mammal Conference, but it was the video that grabbed my eye - fairly typical of how NZ tourism is marketed in China, including videos posted to Youku and official Weibo accounts. Anyway, don't worry about the text, just click play on the video.
How awesome are my students? Midday, blue sky, hot sun, 30 degrees…
Those are my students in white… or the team with actual uniforms, in other words.
And the super high-tech scoreboard says 32:12 at half time. 64:36 at full time, and my students relaxed and had fun in the second half. One dude shot three 3-pointers in a row from exactly the same point on the circle after exactly the same manoeuvre. Almost embarrassing, but hey, I'm bloody proud of them.
Cool, thanks Russell.