So, the government has hinted that the budget will contain measures to ease student debt - but by how much, and for whom? So far their response to the problem has been to tinker around the edges. They've twiddled repayment mechanisms to slightly reduce repayment time, but they've steadfastly ignored the elephant in the room: the ever-growing debt-burden on graduates.
There are a number of policies the government could pursue to both stop the debt mountain from getting any bigger and to ease the debts of existing graduates. It could fund universities at a higher rate, allowing them to charge lower fees. It could re-universalise the student allowance, so that people didn't have to borrow in order to eat. It could reduce interest rates to the rate of inflation, and stop trying to screw a profit out of borrowers. And it could start writing off debt for contributing to the New Zealand economy, rather than the Australian or British one. These are all expensive policies, but unless some or all of them are implemented, we will continue to see declining home ownership, low savings rates, and shortages in vital professions as people take their skills overseas.