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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 16, July 12, 1976.

The Labour Government's Performance

The Labour Government's Performance

The history of the Standard Tertiary Bursary dates from the Labour Party's 1972 election manifesto, which promised to introduce "a standard bursary system" to provide "adequate living allowances" for students. At the time not only were bursaries for unbonded students inadequate, but technical institute students were much worse off than university students.

Labour's promise sounded fine, but students experienced over two years of inaction and delaying tactics by the Labour Government. It was not until March 1975 when 10,000 students throughout the country demonstrated their dissatisfaction, that the Labour Government was seen to take any serious action.

Finally, in May 1975, in its final budget, the Labour Government provided for the introduction of the Standard Tertiary Bursary in 1976. Labour's plans contained several important defects. Two of these were particularly significant:
  • the weekly living allowance (of $24, or $27 from the fourth year of study) was inadequate. In August 1974 the Education Department suggested an allowance equivalent to that of the basic social security benefit (currently $33.20 a week);
  • the boarding allowance was retained in the form of the boarding abatement. This was again contrary tot he Education Department's August 1974 paper.

On the positive side, however, the Labour Government agreed to open discussions on the development of a students' cost of living index. This proposal opened the way for automatic increases in student bursaries to compensate students fully for increases in the cost of foot, rent, books, clothes etc. At the Education Department's request, NZUSA sent a proposal for a Student Price Index to the Department in December last year.