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English Wants Online Options For Student Loan Repayments

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Bill English
Bill English

By Maggie Tait of NZPA

Wellington, June 4 NZPA - Graduates should be able to manage their student loans as easily as their bank accounts, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Answering questions after delivering a post budget speech in Wellington this morning Mr English was asked by constitutional lawyer Mai Chen about what reforms National could achieve in its first term in Government.

Mr English said the government was doing significant regulatory reform which would be completed in the first term and significant inroads made in infrastructure.

He expected to have achieved "fundamental change" in delivering public services.

Another goal was to have new education and skills policy done in the next couple of years.

For example, he said it was extremely difficult for students to get information about and repay loans, especially when they were overseas.

He said graduates were computer literate and handled banking on-line so should be able to make payments to their loans the same way.

"If you are overseas with a student loan it's very hard to even find the IRD's phone number anywhere," Mr English said.

"For any other service you just go on your laptop and they've got their pirated movies, and they've got their music downloads and they've got their email from mum.

"It's all there -- so why aren't their student loans there? Then they'd repay them."

Mr English said it was a simple thing but still quite a big task to implement.

The Government has also this year introduced legislation to give a bonus to students who make extra loan repayments.

The bill enables a 10 percent bonus to be paid to borrowers who made extra repayments of $500 or more in a tax year.

About 500,000 borrowers owed a total of $9.6 billion in student loans.

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