Poli­cies aim to woo youth vote

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - ADAM JACOBSON

Free ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion, a uni­ver­sal ba­sic in­come and wip­ing of loan debt are just a few of the sweet­en­ers be­ing of­fered for the youth vote this year.

A key tar­get area is the Auck­land city elec­torate which con­tains the largest pop­u­la­tion of stu­dents un­der 25 in the coun­try at 42,122.

This de­mo­graphic has had his­tor­i­cally low turnout with only 21 per cent par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 2014 elec­tions.

Labour is propos­ing to pro­gres­sively in­tro­duce three years of free post-school ed­u­ca­tion. The party is also con­sid­er­ing a wipe of stu­dent loans for grad­u­ates who take pub­lic ser­vice jobs in the re­gions.

The Green Party is push­ing for a pub­lic ‘‘fee-free’’ ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. They plan on re­tain­ing the cur­rent ze­roin­t­er­est scheme and would pro­vide free pub­lic trans­port for un­der-19s through a ‘‘Youth Green Card’’.

Un­der New Zealand First, stu­dents would see a uni­ver­sal liv­ing al­lowance and a dol­lar-for­dol­lar debt write-off scheme.

The Op­por­tu­ni­ties Party are bank­ing on a $200 per week uni­ver­sal ba­sic in­come (UBI) tar­geted at all young New Zealan­ders be­tween the ages of 18-23.

The Maori Party would re­move the stu­dent loan cap for med­i­cal stu­dents, in­crease the ac­com­mo­da­tion sup­ple­ment, re­tain in­ter­est-free loans and fund stu­dent-led eq­uity ini­tia­tives.

ACT has promised to in­crease the bor­row­ing cap avail­able to stu­dents to be in line with ris­ing rental costs.

Na­tional are yet to an­nounce any pol­icy which specif­i­cally tar­geted ter­tiary stu­dents.

Rock­En­roll spokesper­son and AUSA president Will Matthews said politi­cians can’t just as­sume re­leas­ing ‘‘a great stu­dent pol­icy’’ would mean stu­dents would be per­suaded to vote for their party.

Young peo­ple tended to care about more than prom­ises which solely ben­e­fited them­selves, in­stead opt­ing to vote for those who re­flected their views on so­ci­etal is­sues and the en­vi­ron­ment, Matthews said.

Auck­land Univer­sity po­lit­i­cal science stu­dent Reuben McLaren said had he not al­ready de­cided his vote, poli­cies such as free ed­u­ca­tion would have played a sig­nif­i­cant role in in­flu­enc­ing his de­ci­sion.

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