Green Party announces universal post-graduate student allowance policy
The Green Party is "in the fight of our lives", leader James Shaw says as he announces a new student package.
That package includes a universal post-graduate student allowance and an increase in the allowance rate for all students.
Shaw, who unveiled the $300 million pledge before an appreciative University of Otago crowd, said National's cuts to the sector affected the number of post graduate students.
The party's package included a free off-peak travel package, abolishing the seven-year cap on student loans. It supported Labour's plan for three free years of tertiary education.
Shaw said he was supportive of Labour's free education package, but students around the country had told him "you can always defer your loan".
"Right now students are really struggling to make ends meet, day-to-day, week-to-week."
He believed their education policy was a vote winner, "but we are doing it because we believe in tertiary education".
Shaw, asked to comment on the latest Newshub poll, said average polls had the party "north of that" and he was confident of the party returning to Parliament.
"We are in the fight of our lives right now, and we are as close as we have ever been in the whole time we have been in Parliament to forming the most environmentally-friendly, progressive government that this country has ever seen."
He did not believe the poll was a "rogue poll" and it was important to look at the overall trend.
"I am very confident we will be back in Parliament."
The most important vote was the party vote. Shaw did not believe the party needed to put more resources, or have an electorate deal, to win a seat.
Shaw said former co-leader Metiria Turei was polling behind Labour MP Rino Tirikatene in the seat of Te Tai Tonga.
In August, Labour promised to deliver the first year of three years free post-secondary education a year earlier, in 2018, and boost student allowances and loans by $50 per week.