Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The odds, and the simply odd

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  • Paul Campbell,

    well as a parent of one child starting Uni in 2010 and another in 2012 what can I say - consider me bribed (not that it was actually required)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2606 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    oh and I wasn't so much wondering about the Key ad in the car but the one on the escalator - I immediately thought "he's going to fall off the end, he's not paying attention"

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2606 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Quick note on the Key ad: a poll of my flat showed that the general first thought was "but if he's in the passenger seat, who's driving?". Subtext Fail.

    And was it just me or is he not wearing a seatbelt? Wife thought he might be but I couldn't see one.
    SURELY he is - no seatbelt in a party political broadcast is madness!

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • insider outsider,

    hmm student bribes. So much for the cupboard being bare and any big promises being reckless and having to be funded by cutting public services...

    Wonder how many heart ops or state houses this might have bought?

    And why do we need a 'mini budget' so soon after the election if Cullen and co are so trustworthy and such proven managers? What little surprises lurk in the govt accounts?

    nz • Since May 2007 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    This incredulous ABC correspondent's blog ponders Palin's counter to the ethics report.

    The ABC reporter is using the rules as they apply to normal people. I think Andrew Sullivan has it pretty much right.

    Again: this is the clear pattern with Palin: she publicly denies reality, insists on repeating that denial and is unable to deal with real world the way psychologically healthy people do. That's why I called her lies "odd lies." They are not the lies of a devious politician. They are much more troubling than that. They reflect a psyche unable to process fact when it conflicts with a delusional self-image. She is even worse in this psychotic denialism than Bush. She is a politician who can only survive in a propaganda state.

    Tim on page one:

    I attended an Obama rally in Columbus, Ohio over the weekend and while I can't speak for a McCain rally, I found the Obama rally to be a really inspiring event

    Michael Schaffer at The New Republic reports on the positive vibe at an Obama rally in Philadelphia.

    The crowd eats it up, with all the attendant cheers and sobs and exultations. The music comes on and the other pols flank Obama as he basks in the applause. As the audience files away, a retiree named Edith MacDonald stays put in her seat. "This is just such a happy place," she says, watching the crowd stream past. Brooks and Dunn's "Only in America" is playing again, and McDonald shouts over it to tell me that she's the last one left from her generation, born in South Carolina before migrating north. "I told my family, God left me here for a reason," she says. "So when I go up to heaven and see my family, I tell them" that the country had a black president.

    Can't you just feel the first tugs of the changing tide of history?

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    But seriously, the timing for this is strange, at once cynical and desperate. In the long run it probably won't break the coffers that much, but the real question is whether it's actually worth the risk.

    It'll have a much smaller impact upon the coffers than straight-out expenditure.

    A lot of the money isn't additional money lost to the government, it's a transfer out of money the government currently lends in the form of student loans, to expenditure in the form of allowances.

    There will be more of it, and obviously it will never come back, unlike loans, which eventually do in the most part.

    That being said, $210 million is bound to be an under-estimate. In 2006 students borrowed $310 in living costs, and there will be a fair number of students who receive neither an allowance nor a student loan - living off a job, or their parents, etc.

    I would guess that the actual cost would be closer to $400 million.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And now I've written that, I wonder if the $210 million figure is the additional expenditure, over and above the current amount spent on the loan scheme.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Eddie Clark,

    And now I've written that, I wonder if the $210 million figure is the additional expenditure, over and above the current amount spent on the loan scheme.

    That's what I assumed, Kyle. Without offsetting the expected reduction in borrowing, $210 m seems a very small number to give allowances to 50,000 students.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 273 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    It'll have a much smaller impact upon the coffers than straight-out expenditure.

    A lot of the money isn't additional money lost to the government, it's a transfer out of money the government currently lends in the form of student loans, to expenditure in the form of allowances.

    There will be more of it, and obviously it will never come back, unlike loans, which eventually do in the most part.

    That being said, $210 million is bound to be an under-estimate. In 2006 students borrowed $310m in living costs, and there will be a fair number of students who receive neither an allowance nor a student loan - living off a job, or their parents, etc.

    I would guess that the actual cost would be closer to $400 million.

    Yeah, that sounds about right.

    I assume Labour have (hopefully) learnt from their gamble back in 2005 where they were less than totally accurate about the actual cost of the interest-free loan package.
    Me, I'm in favour of this bribe, to a degree, but it's all a matter of what they will need to do to shore up the funds for it.
    But really, it's a bandaid until a fully workable programme on how to actually reduce mounting student debt is found.
    Me, I was surprised they didn't announce this earlier.
    Whether it will get them that many extra votes is another matter entirely, mind. I'm sure there are "party insiders" that news sources can lazily quote to get the inside scoop on that...

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 445 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    The Press had a piece about student allowance costings earlier in the year, which put it at $728 million net over 4 years, slightly lower than the current estimate of $210 million a year from 2012. The reason it seems so low is because, as Kyle pointed out, we already spend most of the money on the student loan scheme. Theoretically we get it back, but its still a cash expense to the government even while it builds up an "asset".

    As for whether it can be justified, IMHO yes. The current situation, which sees students forced to borrow for food, is fundamentally unjust. Erasing that obscenity is well worth the price.

    What I'm interested in seeing now though is Labour's plans to avoid that decade of deficits and pursue a better fiscal path than National's while doing all this. I can see one very obvious change they can make, which is entirely distributional, but leaves them with a hell of a lot of room to maneuvre. The question is whether they'll do it or not.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    But really, it's a bandaid until a fully workable programme on how to actually reduce mounting student debt is found.

    But its a bloody good bandaid. This stops that debt from growing; after 2012, students will only be in hock for their fees and course-related costs, which means they will have much lower debt burdens. And the conversion of the loan scheme to effectively a capped graduate tax will make it much easier to bear.

    The next step for the future will be to raise the repayment threshold. Currently, the government thinks the "private benefit" of tertiary education kicks in at less than the minimum wage. Which is pretty laughable when you think about it.

    After that, they need to find some way to address the structural inequity caused by generation debt. There will be 20 years of students who will have been forced to borrow for their education, and whose life paths (house, children, whether they stay in the country) will have been altered because of it. But that's probably at least one or maybe two elections down the track.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • cindy baxter,

    Not entirely relevant to this threat, but an absolute must-read: Rolling Stone on "mad dog Palin".

    My favourite quote:

    It even crossed my mind that there was an element of weirdly self-destructive pique in McCain's decision to cave in to his party's right-wing base... by picking the most obviously unqualified, doomed-to-fail joke of a Bible-thumping buffoon.

    As in: You want me to rally the base? Fine, I'll rally the base. Here, I'll choose this rifle-toting, serially pregnant moose killer who thinks God lobbies for oil pipelines. Happy now?

    I just hope the Troopergate stuff sticks.

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • cindy baxter,

    thread, even

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    The current operation of the loan scheme means that this kind of policy has been an option for a while but is still a significant change. The cost to the crown P&L might be the same but the balance sheet changes significantly obviously.

    Interestingly, it's not going to be at the expense of other, in my opinion better quality, investment in education and training i.e. industry training. Labour's consistently invested more and more money in industry training which has a real and immediate impact on workforce participation and productivity. I note that they've announced a goal of having ten per cent of the workforce in industry training by 2011. That's a big deal too.

    Labour's plans for improving productivity, to my mind, are a lot more meaningful that National's (PPPs for roading and modest tax cuts).

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Currently, the government thinks the "private benefit" of tertiary education kicks in at less than the minimum wage.

    I/S, could you elaborate? I've seen studies that put this figure all over the show... but mostly more than the minimum wage.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Rogan Polkinghorne,

    My flatmates & I had exactly the same reaction to the National ad...'why is he in a car, and who's driving?'. I also found the kids choir thing a little...creepy. Who hangs around a kids choir practice grinning like some social inept?

    Oh riiiiiight, the guy who's probably going to be our next Prime Minister. Phew.

    A-town • Since Nov 2006 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I bet the art's departments of our universities are breaking out the champers right now.

    The greatest problem of student loans has not been student debt IMHO. It been the turning of our universities into intellectually sterile degree factories where people look for the meal ticket that will justify all the money they've borrowed.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Jennifer B,

    JK and the seatbelt: Yes I double checked on MySky rewind cos I wondered too. His electorate car is a crappy old Holden - I keep seeing it around. I guess he's going for the "man of the people" look with it but personally think he should bling it up a bit - we all know he's loaded and probably dying to be driving a Bentley or something fancy. That would be more "aspirational".....

    Matthew Hooton: I generally hear him on radio so would have enjoyed seeing him going ape-sh**. He seems to be rather manic. At times he is perfectly rational sounding and others he sounds like he might be foaming at the mouth. I wonder why he is so volatile?

    Labour's ads are also on Trade Me. Seems to have been quite a good media buy for their campaign. National should have banned those old ladies from getting up and doing the embarassing dancing at their launch. That will lose anyone with any taste I'd venture.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2008 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Paul: the most practical measurement of where the government thinks the private benefit begins is the student loan repayment threshold. Currently, this is a paltry $18,148 a year. To put that in context, that's not even the median income, and a full-time (37.5 hr/week) minimum wage job earns you $23,400.

    if that's their idea of a private benefit, they can shove it.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    It would be interesting to know the number of people this is projected to affect - IIRC, even back in the early nineties, the parental income threshold, while supposedly the average household income, was well short of the average household income of people with university aged children, who generally had 20 years of work experience and no longer had to look after kids or pay for childcare.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    B Jones: According to Stuff, about 50,000 students eventually. Plus, obviously, their parents, who won't have to worry so much about supporting them, or of not getting grandkids because people have too much debt. The joy of tertiary education policy is that you get to target a lot of anxious people...

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    The threshold isn't the measure of private benefit but, it's just a point where government determined repayments commence. I'm not familiar with it being presented as the point at which your private benefit kicks in.

    There's plenty of studies that have attempted to estimate the value of the benefits of various education and training pathways. IRD/Treasury were doing one a while back using IRD income data compared with debt etc. I don't have a link however.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Labour's ads are also on Trade Me.

    What's the reserve? Any bids?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    I do know that some wealthy parents have their money in a trust. Their declared income is small enough to allow their University children to qualify for Student Allowance. I know that one of them was given a house in CH CH while collecting Student Allowance.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    The next step for the future will be to raise the repayment threshold. Currently, the government thinks the "private benefit" of tertiary education kicks in at less than the minimum wage. Which is pretty laughable when you think about it.

    The 'private benefit' arguments that have flown around about Tertiary Education are a false argument.

    The question shouldn't be 'how much private benefit' do people get from tertiary education, but why that's a valid question to be asked.

    It's not asked in relation to primary, secondary education, public health care, benefits, various services such as policing, fire service etc, in the public debates. It is only used to argue for, and accepted as an argument by the public in relation to, user pays in tertiary education

    The insertion of the "public/private benefit for tertiary education" juxtaposition in the public dialogue will be one of the most significant lasting impacts of the 1990 - 1999 National government. It shows no signs of going away.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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