Students frustrated Government hasn't reinstated postgraduate allowances to march

Students will march on Parliament on Thursday, calling for the Government to reinstate postgraduate allowances.

Labour promised to reinstate the allowances after they were scrapped by the National Government in 2013. Eligible postgraduate students received a grant of up to $240 a week.

But New Zealand Union of Students' Associations President James Ranstead told Newshub nothing has been done and students can't wait any longer.

"It's incredibly frustrating. Even now, they're all (Labour, Greens and NZ First) saying that they want to restore the postgraduate allowance and we're really pushing for this commitment," he says.

Ranstead says the group of students weren't eligible for the Government's free first year of tertiary study policy and can't cope with rising costs.

"It's quite tough and really limiting. We know of a number of students who've dropped out of postgraduate study as a result of not being able to afford it.

"It's incredibly critical for students this is reinstated."

But the Government doesn't appear to be ready to act now.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins told Newshub the change won't happen anytime soon.

"That's a long term aspiration. It's not something we're committed to doing in our first term as a coalition Government," said Hipkins.

To reinstate the policy, it would cost $135 million over four years.

But Green Party Tertiary Education spokesperson Chlöe Swarbrick wants the change to happen.

"What we've seen is a decline in accessibility and a ballooning of student debt," she said.

"We need some people who are highly educated to come up with the scientific and technical solutions to things like climate change and the effect artificial intelligence is going to have on the job market, we need people to be having the opportunity to retrain and that to be accessible."

Swarbrick is confident the reinstatement will come.

"Within the Confident and Supply Agreement between the Greens and the Labour Party we do have a commitment to make tertiary study more affordable. I see this as part of achieving that."

More than 3000 students have signed a petition calling on the Government to act.

Newshub.

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