Policies aim to woo youth vote
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.