27 Nov 2017

PM rejects criticism of student allowance policy

11:00 am on 27 November 2017

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says there won't be a problem with the government's policy to increase student allowance payments by $50 a week.

The opposition seized on the initiative, arguing it will give incentive to people on benefits to move into tertiary education without a genuine intention to study.

National Minister Paul Goldsmith told Morning Report that if beneficiaries moved into tertiary education and training, "everybody will celebrate." However, he is concerned that some who shift from benefits to tertiary education might not be "genuine students".

Mr Goldsmith said the student allowance and the jobseekers allowance had previously been aligned so there would not be an incentive for people on the benefit to become students or vice versa.

The Prime Minister has rejected the idea the initiative could be exploited. She told Morning Report there are already protections in place to make sure people going on the allowance are genuine students, such as pass rates.

Ms Ardern said a range of education options would be available to beneficiaries and it would be a good outcome if people on jobseekers sought extra training.

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