13 Oct 2008

United Future launches campaign with plan to abolish tertiary fees

12:03 am on 13 October 2008

The United Future Party has launched its election campaign with a policy to abolish all tertiary education fees.

The party says it will focus its campaign on New Zealand families and maintaining their standard of living.

Its other main policy plank is voluntary income splitting for families with dependent children, for taxation purposes.

At the launch in Auckland, leader Peter Dunne said the no-fees policy would see student allowances scrapped, but students could still borrow for living costs.

Mr Dunne says fees make up a substantial part of student loans, and the level of student debt would fall under the party's new policy.

"And the big gain from that is that not only do we think it is fair and reasonable in terms of what people have to repay but for particularly those professionals who feel the need they've got to go overseas to try to earn enough to pay back their debt and we suffer the shortages here, then in fact there is no reason for that to happen."

He says it would cost just over $200 million a year, as the Government would no longer have to fund student allowances.

About 150 supporters were at the launch at a busy Auckland cafe, with Mr Dunne saying that is where many New Zealand families spend their Sundays, not in hotel conference centres.