Living costs not enough to live on

Earlier this week, I asked the Tertiary Education Minister about the significant impact his cut to postgraduate student allowances could have on the future psychology workforce in New Zealand.

It was prompted by research from the New Zealand Psychological Society and the New Zealand College of Clinical Psychologists that raised serious concerns about the effect that his decision to remove access to allowances for postgraduate students was having on those studying towards a psychology qualification. Psychologists require postgraduate level study to complete their professional registration.

The Minister refused to engage and played his same old card – that students can borrow living costs, and so don’t need an allowance. Except this argument ignores a real flaw – students can only borrow $173.56 a week. A story out today shows that this amount has only increased by $23 since 1999!

This is simply not enough for students to live on – especially for those who are unable to work to supplement it because of large course loads, internship requirements, or for parents juggling studying and looking after their kids.

The Minister has made it clear that the amount students can borrow to live on will not be getting a boost in this year’s budget.

Meanwhile, I’m hearing countless stories from students who are struggling to get by.

National talks about making New Zealand a more innovative, internationally competitive nation. At the same time, they’re stripping away support for the people that would do just that.

5 Comments Posted

  1. You’re not wrong! They really aren’t enough to live on. I can’t even afford a proper vacation with my kids but have to go camping… which can be a lot of hassle (just to illustrate this point) (I actually prefer glamping), and I’m working. Don’t know how the students are managing… and education is so important.
    But I suppose we have a lot to be grateful for. You have the luck of being in NZ. Such a beautiful country. My sister lives there. She’s also bringing up her kids there, which make your political points even more relevant.

  2. And there has been a six month waitlist to see a clinical psychologist via CCDHB for some time now.

    There is also a chronic shortage of children’s clinical psychologists throughout NZ, & evidence is clear that early intervention can prevent social “issues” such as a life of crime, addictions, and dysfunctional relationships or socially harmful behavior.

  3. The cost of living has to come down fast,or wages/ benefits/ students payments go up, fight to reduce the GST rate back down to 12.5% instead of 15%,Christchurch an the Resession has benefited from high costs so that should be find now. Tabacco is an extra $30.00 for a 50gram in Aussie its only $34.00/ Meat prices in NZ is bloody redeckless ,an dairy products,heatlhy bread is $6.00 a loaf.
    National want everyone to work hard an pay high taxes, but theres no incentive to bring home a good pay, an have food on the table that feeds a student not alone a family- heathly meals 3x a day/ 7x a week.
    I beleive stronger in the Green Party an a little with Labour.
    Its Our NZ people that cannot get anywhere to strive, how will our future
    Generations cope.

  4. depends on having more psychology professionals, perhaps we should go back to the horse, cart, fishing rod and veggie garden.

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