Australian officials to help track down defaulters

  • 16/11/2015
Australian officials to help track down defaulters

The Australian tax man will soon be able to finger New Zealand student loan dodgers to his Kiwi counterpart.

A bill introduced to New Zealand's parliament on Monday will allow information to be shared between Inland Revenue and the Australian Taxation Office as the Government tightens the clamp on loan defaulters living overseas.

About 725,000 student loan borrowers owe nearly $15 billion and an estimated $3.2b is owed by people living overseas, the majority in Australia.

New Zealanders living in Australia had defaulted on about $445 million worth of their debt, the Government said in March this year when the two countries' Prime Minister agreed on the arrangement.

The Australian taxation officer will supply up-to-date contact details and the Government has said that when people are contacted, they start paying.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce says Inland Revenue has made progress in tracking down defaulters but there are still too many of them in Australia.

"This new initiative will give IRD up to date contact details to track down those deliberately avoiding their payments and being unfair to other taxpayers."

Over the past five years the Government has increased its efforts to claw back unpaid student loans and says it is having some success.