National seems to have been caught out completely by Labour's student loans policy, and so is flailing around calling it "desperate", "irresponsible", and (best of all) "an election bribe on an unprecedented scale".
It costs $100 million, rising to $300 million in later years. If that's an "unprecedented bribe", what should we call promising billions and billions in tax cuts to the rich?
As policies go, this is actually quite a modest one cost-wise (and the "cost" is forgone income rather than actual spending in any case). But it affects a huge number of people - 460,000 borrowers, their partners, parents, and children - all of whom have a stake in reducing the crippling burden of debt. Now, people might actually be able to repay those loans, rather than carrying them with them for the rest of their lives, and they might be able to buy houses, save for retirement, have kids, and generally a future. It's a fine example of what "socialist" policies can do and how government can help (even if it is only by undoing the mistakes of the past).