Home > The Body Politic > Letter to the Editor: Message to students with loans – don’t come home!

Letter to the Editor: Message to students with loans – don’t come home!





In the media today; it seems that National has followed through on it’s promise, last year, to enact a new law to criminalise New Zealanders;


Student loan defaulters targeted


To which I replied accordingly;


FROM:     "f.macskasy" 
SUBJECT: Letters to the editor
DATE:    Fri, 07 Mar 2014 13:45:08 +1300
TO:     "The Dominion" <letters@dompost.co.nz> 



The Editor
Dominion Post


So National has passed a law decreeing that student loan
defaulters returning to New Zealand will be arrested at our
borders (ie; airport)?

What will this achieve, aside from sending a clear message
to Kiwi expats - don't come home?

The sad irony of this ridiculous law is that most of it's
National Party architects had the benefit of a free tertiary
education in their youth. In the case of Paula Bennett, her
university education was paid by the taxpayer via a Training
Incentive Allowance which she scrapped in 2009. 

In John Key's case, his university tuition - again free -
gave him the opportunity to amass a multi-million dollar
fortune, before returning home.

After two unaffordable tax cuts, National is so desperate to
scrape together revenue to balance it's books that it is
willing to criminalise an entire sector of our fellow New

What an absolutely apalling state of affairs we have arrived
at when greed, in the form of lower and lower taxation,  
has resulted in permanently exiling so many of our children.

The message is clear: don't come home unless you have money.

-Frank Macskasy
(address & phone number supplied)





Radio NZ:  Student loan defaulters targeted

Previous related blogposts

Budget 2013: How NOT to deal with Student loan defaulters






Paula Bennet



= fs =

  1. Jo
    7 March 2014 at 5:20 pm

    So those whio have paid their loans are stupid? If you borrow money from the gvernment or not you pay it back. These are even tax free for those that stay in the counytry. Free tertiary education is a pipe dream so we can’t return to the past, Sad but true.
    And yes I got my main tertiary education practically free.

    • Leave Right Out
      7 March 2014 at 8:32 pm

      Jeez Jo – talk about deliberately missing the point! Reminder – we got rid of debtors prison ages ago. Tertiary ed is getting so expensive that it is rapidly becoming only for the monied elite. Usual right wing tactic to raise dumb drone consumers who don’t question anything.

      Get those that can afford to pay tax to pay their share – that’s part of the point Frank is making. Does the hypocrisy mentioned above about key and bennett not even register with you? Apparently not.

      • 7 March 2014 at 10:29 pm

        LRO – Nailed it.

      • Jo
        9 March 2014 at 12:24 pm

        Priss I paid for subsequent tertiary education, so don’t get on your high horse. The real world is that if you want quality you pay for it. Simple. I didn’t notice any barriers to tertiary educatopn before of after the fees. As I was paying a mortgage when I was studying and after I knew I jad to pay back what I borrowed when I studued. I didn’t have a tax free loan BTW. You only het arrested or stopped if you haven’t paid or made arrangements. Do you have the same view on those who don’t pay their fines being stopped from leaving the country?

        Leave Right Out, Suely the aim of terrtiary education i that you can go out and get a higher paid job? So why do the future high(er) earners get a free ride? I was extremely lucky first time around but as I said you can’t go backwards.

        • 9 March 2014 at 5:41 pm

          I think Priss has asked a fairly straight forward question, Jo…

          There is no reason in the world why we can’t have free tertiary education like Key and you received, and as Bennett was assisted to gain.

          None whatsoever.

          All it requires is that citizens decide it is worth having, and we pay for it through taxation – like New Zealanders used to, prior to 1992.

          Aside from being a cliche, I’m not quite sure what this means,

          “The real world is that if you want quality you pay for it. “

          Key, Bennett, and many others received a free education. They never paid for it. Not even through taxation, which was cut seven times since (and including) 1986.

          So they got “quality” – but never paid for it. Neither did you.

          “Do you have the same view on those who don’t pay their fines being stopped from leaving the country?”

          The difference is obvious. Getting a good education helps the country by up-skilling.

          Breaking the law and incurring fines does not.

          We want people to get an education.

          We don’t want people breaking the law.

          “So why do the future high(er) earners get a free ride?”

          Like you did?

          • Jo
            15 March 2014 at 9:07 pm

            Sorry? Me high earner? Where did you get that from? I’m currently a temp in a short term contract not earning the living wage threashhold. I will be umemploted again in about a month after reduced hours in the few weeks prior.

            Free tertiary education is a pipe dream. I’ll fight tooth and nail to keep secondary education free (including abolishing so called voluntary donations). Charter schools are an abomination.

            • 15 March 2014 at 9:13 pm

              I’d be interested to know why you think free tertiary education is a “pipe dream”?

              Considering that New Zealand had free tertiary education for many decades and people like John Key benefitted from it.

              • Jo
                15 March 2014 at 9:22 pm

                It hasn’ been free since 1991. We don’t have enough money to fund the tertiary education system ( and that has nohing to do with tax cuts). Something else would have to go (University versus Public Health could be an example).

                • 15 March 2014 at 11:06 pm

                  Jo – have you worked out why ” We don’t have enough money to fund the tertiary education system“?

                  If it’s not the seven tax cuts since 1986 (inclusive), why do you think there isn’t sufficient money to pay for tertiary education when, prior to that, there was sufficient money.

                  And who told you that “Something else would have to go (University versus Public Health could be an example)“?

                  • Jo
                    15 March 2014 at 11:10 pm

                    That’s the point it wan’t sustainable

                  • Jo
                    15 March 2014 at 11:15 pm

                    Common sence tell me something else would suffer. Where would the money come from to fully fund tertiary education maybe if people paid back their loans (shock horror)

                    • 15 March 2014 at 11:19 pm

                      That’s the point it wan’t sustainable

                      Sez who? Who said it wasn’t sustainable?

                      Common sence tell me something else would suffer. Where would the money come from to fully fund tertiary education maybe if people paid back their loans (shock horror)”

                      Really? So you’re saying that there isn’t enough money?

                      So tell me why the seven tax cuts since 1986 has not impacted on the viability of free tertiary education?

                      ‘Cos on the one hand you’re saying ” that has nohing to do with tax cuts” – yet on the other hand you’re wanting to know “Where would the money come from to fully fund tertiary education“?

                      Do you see the disconnect in your arguments?

        • Priss
          10 March 2014 at 12:37 pm

          That’s nonsensical Jo. You got a free education and now you expect others to pay for theirs or face arrest??

          There is no similarity at all between paying fines and user-pays in education. Especially when you, Key, and Bennett got off scott free without paying for yours.

          Jom can you spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y?

          And a tertiary education isn’t purely about getting a “high paid” job. Education isn’t simply about money, it’s about bettering yourself.

          By the way high income earners ARE getting a free ride now. Especially those who, like Key, got a free tertiary education and then several tax cuts. They not only never paid for their university tuition, but got tax cuts so future generations couldn’t get a free education either.

          You tell me what part of that is fair???

        • sharlene
          10 March 2014 at 8:42 pm

          Jo, the difference is that fines come from doing something illegal. Getting an education isn’t!

  2. Priss
    8 March 2014 at 1:36 pm

    Jo –

    So let me get this straight. Key got a free education. Bennett got a free education. And YOU got a free education. But you’re insisting that everyone else pay for their education or face arrest? Am I missing something here?????????

    • Jo
      15 March 2014 at 9:16 pm

      I paid for later education and I never ever thouht about not paying it back.

  3. Jo
    9 March 2014 at 12:29 pm

    If I remember correctly Labour dangled tax cuts in front of us. A bribe which didn’t work. Both sides are as quilty as each other. Cunliffe would propose anything to get into power and backtrack immediately. Minimum wage of $15 my ass. If he gets in the people struggling won’t see any difference.

    • 9 March 2014 at 5:35 pm

      Cullen proposed three tax cuts spread over three years; 2008, 2009, and 2010. (See: Cullen: Tax cuts but strict conditions )

      The first tax cut proceeded, and was implemented on 1 October 2008.

      Whether or not he would have proceeded with the other two tranches of tax cuts is a moot point. But considering his prudent economic stewardship of nine government surpluses plus paying down nearly all of our sovereign debt, I doubt he would’ve been as irresponsible as John Key was.

      The Global Financial Crisis and corresponding recession meant that Key had to borrow to pay for those tax cuts. (See: Govt borrowing $380m a week )

      Not exactly a wise move, one would think.

      • Jo
        10 March 2014 at 9:49 pm

        I agree. I just don’t like the way Governments or Oppositions dangles tax cuts as the carrot to get back in. I personally resent baby bonuses and Working for Families as I can’t have children (as much as I wanted them) and therefore my famly of two gets no assistance with our living costs. By the time I hit retirement age thay would have changed that upwards. If I can vote to stop tjat happening I willl. Thank the Lord for KIwisaver (one of the best pieces of legisiation ever) And yes I know National is screwing around with it I don’ need to be told that. I faltly refuse to vote for Labour I was a student when Phil Goff was education ministr. O voted Greens when I respected Rod Donald and to a lesser exrent Jeanette Fitzsimmons. I can’t stand Russell Norman (he’s slimi IMHO),

  4. dontbugme
    13 March 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Lets just say I am one of those “criminal” defaulters living in Aus facing potential arrest for a loan I took out 20 years ago when I was a kid at a time when the country had an 11 percent unemployment rate. I studied for two years (didn’t finish because I couldn’t afford to live), coming from a broken home I had to live in a flat and pay rent. My living costs came from borrowed money at interest, my rent money, from student loans went straight into a baby-boomers mortgage making him rich, I borrowed money, at interest to eat…

    This borrowed money benefited allot of the older generation in the form of rent payments on their land grabs (even parents were collecting board of their own children from borrowed money). Can’t people see that the first student loan scheme was a hidden stimulus package? With high youth unemployment they needed to do something so they lent out unsecured money to the young to get them off the dole and into uni and polytechnic sausage factories (most left for overseas after finishing because they still couldn’t find work). When the loan scheme came in overnight the tertiary education system grew into a monster, providing employment to pointless academics who were pretty much unemployable in the real world.

    I have no sympathy for the country when the people cry and moan that it needs to be payed back. It’s a con job. I am now 40 and live in Aus, have two kids and a modest home. I cannot afford to pay it back, and I will not. If I return to NZ to visit family and the gov’t arrests me then so be it. I’m still not paying as a matter of principle. Criminalise me, take my family home, make my children homeless…this is where we are heading here…Banks don’t even do this…Have Kiwis become so passive that they think this law is acceptable from a country that likes to portray itself to the world as progressive?

    As a postscript to this – If I could negotiate with the IRD and only pay the coarse costs – adjusted at interest with CPI inflation I would pay. I am not however paying money borrowed for living costs and paying penalties; I feel I was scammed at a vulnerable time in my life. If I pay these loan sharks back I will have been scammed for a second time and this is not going to happen.

  5. 14 March 2014 at 8:45 am

    That’s an insightful story, DBM – thanks for sharing with us. From what I’ve been hearing, I suspect there are more people in your situation that most New Zealanders realise.

    One result from turning education into an expensive “commodity” is that it forces people offshore to earn higher salaries to pay their student debts. The result is that we lose much needed skills that would help grow our economy. Instead other countries benefit from the education of our young people.

    User pays in tertiary education made up for cuts in taxation, so shifting responsibility for funding from spread over the tax-base, to individuals.

    What the pro-free marketeers don’t seem to understand is that if education becomes a commodity, then what loyalty does a debt-burdened University graduate have to this country?

    The answer lies in what you wrote, DBM.

  6. Jo
    15 March 2014 at 9:14 pm

    DBM do you pay your mortgage? I assume you borrowed money to purcahe your modest house? You borrowed money (as I did) and the difference is I paid it back (and I didn’t pass my course either).

    Australian tertiary education isn’t free so are your children going to leave Australia fleeing their debt as well if they aspire to a University education?

    Frank you’re dreaming if you think we’ll ever go back to free University education.

    • dontbugme
      15 March 2014 at 9:52 pm

      Jo I think you are missing the point.

      Yes I do pay my mortgage because I borrowed the money using the house as security. If I refuse to pay the bank takes the house (I’m cool with that). However the police do not get involved and I do not get a criminal offence recorded against me – also I am still free to NOT pay my mortgage and customs and police will NOT arrest me at the airport if I so wish to leave the country – do you get it?

      The student loans were unsecured and lent to teenage school leavers to study various ridiculous courses. I mean seriously kids were getting into serious debt to study hairdressing and other such menial occupations that in the past were learnt on the job. When student loans were first introduced back in 1992 fees went up around 800 percent – I smell a scam here…

      You are correct Australian tertiary education isn’t free, however nobody really flees Australia from student loans because payments are capped at 8 percent above around 100k earning…the first 48k you pay nothing back and it’s staggered from 3 percent to 8 as a maximum. See…nobody really notices their student loans here…because Jo…they are not really loans…they are simply a projected higher interest rate. Am I sinking in yet? In NZ they are now taking 12 percent from minimum wage!!! What a way to stimulate your economy hey.

      I am happy for you that you paid back the money that you didn’t really borrow, as for me I don’t like getting ripped off.

    • 15 March 2014 at 11:09 pm

      Hang on, Jo… you said “You borrowed money (as I did) and the difference is I paid it back“.

      But on 7 March 2014 at 5:20 pm , you stated,

      And yes I got my main tertiary education practically free“.

      How can you “pay something back” that you got “practically free”?!

      • Jo
        15 March 2014 at 11:17 pm

        My subsequent tertiary education Frank/ Keeep up. I’ve already stated I returned to further study during the fees era.

        • 15 March 2014 at 11:22 pm

          My subsequent tertiary education Frank/ Keeep up. I’ve already stated I returned to further study during the fees era.”

          But you stated your initial studies were free?! You never paid for them. Your words, not mine.

          Have you paid for your initial studies? If not, why not?

          • Jo
            15 March 2014 at 11:26 pm

            Bwcause my initial studies were free duh/. I was lucky and know I was. It doesn’t hegate the fact I still worked blood hard to get my degree, I also worked through all braeks and over Summer.

            • 15 March 2014 at 11:32 pm

              Other people also work hard, Jo, not just you.

              Having “worked blood hard to get my degree, I also worked through all braeks and over Summer” does not entitle you automatically to a freebie that others do not get.

              I don’t understand this heightened sense of entitlement from you. Your hypocrisy is breathtaking, but trying to justify it because you “worked hard”?! That’s an excuse that doesn’t wash.

              Try better.

              Why should you get something for free – but not other people?

              • Jo
                15 March 2014 at 11:38 pm

                I state yet again I was lucky and fortiunate. I am not a trained teacjer I failed the course. Yet I still paid my loan back.

                And I can spell I just can’t type, darling.

                • 15 March 2014 at 11:41 pm

                  “I state yet again I was lucky and fortiunate. “

                  So tell us, Jo (and according to the stats, several hundred people have read this exchange), why do you think education should be predicated on being “lucky and fortunate”?

                  Do you think all government policy should depend on being “lucky and fortunate”? Why just tertiary education?

    • 15 March 2014 at 11:13 pm

      Frank you’re dreaming if you think we’ll ever go back to free University education.”

      That’s right, Jo, it is a dream of mine. Just as you had a free tertiary education – but now seem to be off the opinion that others should pay for what you were given for free, paid by the taxpayer.

      As did John Key.

      And many other National Party MPs.

      (Paula Bennett got hers paid by WINZ, lucky cow!)

      The startling thing is that you don’t see any double-standard in what you’re saying. I find that disturbing.

      So far you’ve not given any believable reason why you deserve something free whilst others don’t.

      • Jo
        15 March 2014 at 11:20 pm

        I got Lucky because of my date of birth. No more. Same as you would have if you went to University. I had to pay full fees for my post graduate year (1991). Then for my time at Teachers’ College. I paid both back,

        • 15 March 2014 at 11:25 pm

          “I got Lucky because of my date of birth.”

          And you think that is fair?

          By what stretch of the imagination do we discriminate against people because they happened to go to Uni at the wrong time?

          So you happened to benefit from that arbitrary change in education policy by the introduction of User Pays. But you don’t want anyone else to benefit?

          Is that what you believe?

          • Jo
            15 March 2014 at 11:34 pm

            Life is not fair Frank

            • 15 March 2014 at 11:36 pm

              “Life is not fair Frank”


              What is that supposed to mean?

              You’re using a cliche as a debating point?

  7. dontbugme
    15 March 2014 at 11:34 pm

    “Bwcause my initial studies were free duh”

    Jesus Jo, you’re a “trained” teacher!!! And you didn’t even learn to spell…??? Duh…!!! And why have did you put a capital letter in[ L]ucky?

    Better get yourself another loan and go back to school darling…

  8. 15 March 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Yo Jo! If there’s one thing I get out of your crap, it’s that you’re utterly clueless. Basically you’ve bludged off the taxpayer and now want others to pay for what you got free?

    Maybe you should pay your first bit of University education back as well. Just so you don’t come across as a selfish individual.

  9. dontbugme
    15 March 2014 at 11:59 pm

    To use Jo’s cliche: “life’s not fair”, correct, life is indeed not fair, that is why I am not paying back my student loan…”give us yer money, it’s not fair we want it back…at interest and penalties…” Um, sorry IRD, life’s not fair…no can do, I’m broke…

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