57,000 student loan defaulters tracked down in Australia

  • 15/12/2016
Interest-free student loans were first introduced in 2001 (Getty)
Interest-free student loans were first introduced in 2001 (Getty)

Almost 57,000 Kiwis who moved across the Tasman and stopped paying back their student loans have been tracked down, the government says.

Almost half have not paid a cent to Inland Revenue since moving to Australia, leaving a total $1.2 billion debt outstanding and more than $430 million in default.

The discovery is part of an information sharing agreement between Inland Revenue and the Australian Tax Office which began in October.

An initial review of data tracked down 10,000 borrowers, but more than 45,000 have since been uncovered.

"It's time these people did the right thing and met the obligations they signed up to when they took out their student loan," Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse said on Thursday.

According to Inland Revenue a little over a million people have signed up to the student loan scheme since it began in 1992, and more than 500,000 have fully repaid the debt.