Rent rises hurting students

The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has today released new research that shows the impact of rising rents on students.

They identify the measly amount available to students through the accommodation benefit as contributing to the problem. Despite skyrocketing rents, the amount that students can receive per week to help out with accommodation costs is capped at $40 per week (or $60 for a sole parent with one or more supported child/children), and this cap has been in place since 2003.

The accommodation benefit for students is set at 50% of average rental costs in particular regions, capped $40. For many regions, that cap was reached long ago – for example, in Auckland it was maxed out 10 years ago. In Christchurch, Nelson and New Plymouth it was reached in 2009, and in Wellington and Queenstown it was reached in 2005. That means, in these regions and many more, the amount that a student can borrow hasn’t been able to change since then, despite rents rising in those areas.

This is putting the crunch on students in a big way.

One problem that the NZUSA has highlighted is that the accommodation benefit for students is significantly lower than the accommodation supplement that is available to other low income New Zealanders. So while for students in Auckland it’s capped at $40, in some parts of Auckland you can get up to $145 a week through the accommodation supplement.

The NZUSA are calling on the Government to change the rules and allow students to receive the same rate of support as everyone else through access to the accommodation supplement. At the very least, they’re requesting that the cap on the accommodation benefit for students be adjusted to reflect the reality of increasing rents.

This is a call that we support – we’d like to see all allowances available to students be reviewed and to increase the accommodation benefit to the same level as what’s available to those receiving other sorts of benefits.

NZUSA
Infographic from NZUSA

5 Comments Posted

  1. The discrimination against students in terms of access to housing cost support may be based on the ultimate intent to have those under 20 in education/training or employment rather than on a benefit. That and financial pressure to keep them at home to reduce demand on housing.

    Possibly one might argue a case for post graduate students/those over 20
    having access to the supplement.

  2. Obviously there is an inconsistency to there being a singular rate for the accommodation benefit nationwide, when the accommodation supplement has different regional rates to reflect local cost variation

    The discrimination against students in terms of access to housing cost support may be based on the ultimate intent to have those under 20 in education/training or employment rather than on a benefit. That and financial pressure to keep them at home to reduce demand on housing.

    Possibly one might argue a case for post graduate students/those over 20
    having access to the supplement.

  3. Our government is either psychotic in regards assisting people taking up tertiary education or trying to befuddle the public and it actually has an agenda to prevent poor people from taking part.
    It claims it wants an educated populous so as to close the income gap with Australia and other places, or at least to ensure a well educated you and me (dare I say it, the masses….).
    Yet
    A it makes it harder for many poor, for example solo-parents by removing the Training Incentive Allowance,
    B it prevents non-parent students getting Temporary Additional Support because tertiary education is a choice” and
    C it sets the “accommodation benefit” at rates well below the “accommodation supplement” that can be gained by non-students as per the Social Security Act for exactly the same rent/same place etc.
    Now I know we might think Joyce, Parata et al are made…. but methinks a class analysis about educatiing the massess lies at the heart of the problem.

    G

  4. Good infographic… the temptation to expand on Joyce’s comment… “we’ve got student support levels about right” 🙂

    – to ensure that the ungrateful twerps leave the country, so they aren’t around to vote us out of office?

  5. How about a cap on rental charges too. A huge amount of sheer greed with some landlords out there.
    Also I’d like to see tougher measures for landlords to meet their obligations to maintain their properties. Tenants have obligations, no doubt about it but I’ve noticed more and more properties where landlords are failing to attend to property maintenance and meet the reasonable requests of tenants. Happy to take the rent though!In the meantime, properties are looking more shabby and the wider community looks dumbed down too.

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