The New Zealand Medical Students’ Association (NZMSA) and Te Oranga (Māori Medical Students’ Association Aotearoa) keenly await the budget release later this week. In the 2017 election promises, Labour announced a commitment to reinstate student-loan borrowing beyond the current 8 year cap put in place by the previous government.
“For some students who entered medical school through post-graduate pathways, this means they have no access to student loans to fund their final years of study – with some facing the reality of dropping out” says NZMSA Vice-President Ajda Arsan.
“Ultimately this means missing doctors in the community. Our students simply want to get on with their training so they can get on with helping patients”.
“Due to the inaction of previous governments to address this issue, we have had students resort to Give-A-Little pages in order to continue their studies. This simply isn’t good enough and we need the new government live up to their promises.”
NZMSA and Te Oranga have growing concerns over the negative impact this has on the future Māori medical workforce. Chayce Glass, Tumuaki o Te Oranga says “The current policy, and its effect on Maori, threatens to undo the significant work that has been undertaken to support proportional numbers of Māori studying medicine”.
“The EFTS cap affects those Māori students who have entered medical school with previous degrees (incl. those who completed Foundation Level course) and who are now facing the pressure of finding $25,000 per year to fund the remainder of their medical studies. This is no mean feat and placing a significant pressure on tauira and their whānau.”
“Māori are needed within the workforce to help drive changes to the way healthcare is delivered to ensure the equitable health outcomes for Māori”
New Zealand needs doctors from diverse backgrounds to meet the diverse needs of our communities. It was Labour, Green and NZ First policy to raise the EFTS cap for long length programmes such as medicine. If the government does not follow through with this policy, we risk closing the door on the very doctors we need.
Both NZMSA and Te Oranga acknowledge this cap affects many professional programmes and hope support for these students will also be accounted for in the 2018 budget.
- Labour policy:
- Green policy: https://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/policy-pdfs/students%20policy%20summary%20FINAL-web.pdf
Vice President External
Te Oranga Tumuaki