Oh cry me a river, you bludging no-hopers!
A story in the New Zealand Herald this week reported that some Kiwis living overseas with huge student loans are too scared to come home for fear of being arrested at the border.
More than 100,000 student loan borrowers are living overseas and the top 10 owe more than $4.8 million – that's $4.8 million they owe to you and me.
I have absolutely no sympathy for them and I am glad the government finally came down hard on these people.
For years, amoral Kiwis have taken the money and run and despite signing contracts that bound them to paying back their student loans, they have stuck two fingers to New Zealanders and refused to do so.
Successive governments have tried carrots and sticks to induce expats to pay back the money they owe – former students living overseas owe more than 90 per cent of the student loan debt - about $1.2 billion - so it's worth trying to get the money back.
I've written on this before and received some breathtakingly arrogant responses from Kiwis living and working overseas.
They are too good for this tin-pot country, apparently. They are brilliant and deserve to have their education paid for. After all, the previous generation got it for free. Why should they not get the same privilege?
Well, for a start, they can't be that bright. The clue is in the name. Student loan. It's a loan, not a scholarship.
And again, clearly they're not that brilliant otherwise their genius would have earned them a scholarship to go to uni. And while some of the previous generation enjoyed fees-free tertiary study, universities had rigorous standards and not everyone who wanted to go could get in. These days, universities will take any one who wants to do a paper.
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I would prefer to go back to the days of stringent testing. The intellectual elite who make it past the exams would enjoy free tuition – why shouldn't universities be centres of academic excellence? Our sporting academies wouldn't take any old couch potatoes.
However, the model we have seems to be the model we're stuck with, so if you want to study, you can. And you're not even paying the full cost of your tuition – the taxpayer picks up the bill for around 65 per cent of the cost of the course. Someone who wants to buy a truck, or open a business, or go farming doesn't get that same start-up assistance.
So a university graduate can study whatever degree they like, have a loan provided to them to pay the fees the taxpayer isn't already covering, and they can pay back the loans either interest-free, if they stay in New Zealand, or pay back the loan at commercial rates, if they go overseas.
What's so hard to grasp about the arrangement?
Even someone without the benefit of a university education can probably comprehend that if you take out a loan, it must be paid back.
The Herald has revealed that the Inland Revenue Department obtained 11 warrants to arrest student loan defaulters at the border since the law change in 2014 and six people have actually been arrested.
Most of the overseas loan defaulters live in Australia and a number of them bleated to the Herald about how unfair it was that they couldn't see their families back in New Zealand because they had a student loan hanging over their heads.
Well, who's fault is that? If you want to come home, pay the rest of us what you owe.
Anyway, it's probably better that persistent loan defaulters stay where they are. If you are too stupid or amoral to understand that your student loan must be paid back, we don't want you here anyway.