Finally we know the election date. And it’s the same one we knew all along. Ho-hum. At least now the media can stop rocking itself to sleep muttering “September seventeenth… definitely definitely September seventeenth…”
And much like the card game Memory, we can start matching Labour and National’s policies against each other. The difference being, in a game of Political Memory, the pledge cards sport pictures of made-over politicians and cost hundreds of millions of dollars each. And they prefer it when the voters don't remember them.
Labour successfully distracted attention from National’s student loan announcement by having Trevor Mallard jump up and down on a trampoline wearing a pair of cut-off jean shorts and a bikini top. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.
However Labour must have noticed that some of us, i.e. those of us with huge loans, pricked up our ears at National’s announcement. And so they’ve tried to go one better, promising No Interest on Student Loans, as long as you live in New Zealand.
The right-wingers are already jumping up and down, screaming about perverse incentives – if there’s no interest surely EVERYONE will borrow as much as they possibly can, damn the torpedoes. Smart parents will use their children’s loan accounts as investment portfolios etc etc.
Well maybe. Although there are two important caveats on Labour’s scheme.
1. You must keep living in New Zealand.
2. It's not guaranteed to last forever.
Therefore any student considering moving overseas, or that this is merely a pre-election bribe to be revoked at will, would be well advised to borrow carefully. Unless of course you're so damned rich you don't need to actually use the student loan money, and can just chuck the whole lot into solid investments. (And if you're that rich, are you really going to fluff around investing each paltry weekly installment just so you can reap the returns off a few grand each year?)
It should also be noted, if these perverse incentives do exist, they also exist in National's rebate scheme, albeit to a lesser degree. Although with no interest, as under Labour's scheme, why would you ever try and reduce your loan through voluntary repayments, as opposed to just sticking the money into a savings account?
If you're interested in what'll happen to your own loan under a zero interest policy, there's a calculator here. Probably wouldn't hurt to check the numbers through a calculator not provided by the Labour party though...
At this point, I should make it clear out that by doubting the Nats' trustworthiness in my last post, I wasn't supporting Labour. My enemy's enemy is not my friend etc. And two months from the election, I ain't got no friends.
Still, this simple fact didn't prevent an even simpler character named Nick, using the charming email moniker, ahem, showing me the flaws in my argument. Apparently not only am I a lefty, but also (and I quote):
...an ugly four-eyed cock-biting fuckwit.
Obviously he missed my post on the laser eye surgery. These days I'm only a two-eyed cock-biting fuckwit.