The Young Nats welcome the announcement by Hon Steven Joyce that the Government will extend the seven year cap on student loan borrowing to eight years for postgraduate medical students.
“We’ve backed the NZMSA’s campaign since May, because it just makes sense. Medical students need more time in full-time study to acquire the essential skills that our health system needs.” Young Nats President, Joel Rowan said.
“I’m pleased that the Minister has listened to the voice of students and recognised that this is a valuable investment. Medical students should be able to finish their degrees with the same support as students who get qualifications in other subjects.”
“New Zealand’s health system needs more doctors. The Young Nats welcome the news that the Government is supporting the students who are working hard to qualify.”
“Student support should not be unlimited, nor should it come with no obligations, but the policy announced today makes access fairer for postgraduate med students.”
Previously, the cap would have left postgraduate med students short by one or two years. Now, those students who take eight years to complete their study will be able to graduate without the need to self-fund their final year.
The Young Nats support the New Zealand Medical Students Association’s campaign to exempt medical students from the seven year equivalent full time study cap on borrowing for course costs, and want the cap extended to nine years for this group of students.
“The seven year cap makes sense for most students because most courses don’t require study beyond seven years. We know the obvious exception to this is medical graduates who need to acquire essential skills through postgraduate study” Young Nats President, Sean Topham says.
Medical students are in short-supply and are arguably our hardest working. Making it harder for them could put further pressure on the health system in the long-term.
When the cap takes effect in six months, many students close to graduating will find it difficult to finance additional costs of around $15,000, possibly forcing them to delay their study or quit altogether.
“We back students undertaking postgraduate courses, but a system where specialising in philosophy is supported and specialising in medicine is not supported needs to be fixed. Qualified doctors are essential to the quality of our health system”.
Most postgraduate medical students take eight years to complete their degree, meaning that the current cap will leave them one year short. However a smaller group of around 40 per year have done a 4 year undergraduate degree and thus will need a 2 year extension.
“Our position is that a two year extension on student loan borrowing is reasonable and will cover the vast majority of postgraduate med students” says Topham.
The Young Nats are speaking out against the Government for passing a law allowing legal highs to be tested on animals and are set for a showdown at a select committee hearing at Parliament this morning.
“Just weeks ago the Government passed a lab-rat law allowing legal highs to be tested on animals. It’s frankly cruel and insane” says Young Nats Policy Chair, Nick Cross.
“We believe animal testing for non-medical purposes is inconsistent with the principles of animal welfare and unnecessary to fulfill the aims of the Psychoactive Substances Act”.
Research by SAFE shows significant numbers of animals are killed (often over 50%) as a result of animal testing, and many animals are subjected to very severe suffering through procedures such as vivisection despite protections already in place under the Animal Welfare Act.
“We support the goals of the Psychoactive Substances Act, but animal testing simply isn’t justifiable. Our supporters are concerned with the implications for animals under the Act as it stands – which is why we’re supporting the Supplementary Order Paper Trevor Mallard has put forward to see the Act amended” says Young Nats Policy Chair, Nick Cross, who will be presenting to the Committee.
The Young Nats believe the Government needs to address the inconsistency of the Psychoactive Substances Act with animal welfare law in New Zealand.