Paying back student debt

The Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, visited New Zealand this weekend to hold talks with John Key. The two prime ministers visit each other at least once a year.

One of the issues they talked about was New Zealanders living in Australia who have not paid back their student loan. Australia’s tax department will now give contact addresses of these people to the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department (IRD).

110,000 New Zealanders living overseas owe a total of $686m and 65% of these people live in Australia. The second country where many New Zealanders live is the UK, and New Zealand is trying to make the same arrangement with the UK tax department.

The head of the Union of Students’ Associations said that student debt is a big problem in New Zealand. Students, on average, have the same amount of debt as American students. He wants the government to contribute more to tertiary education.

Listen to April 18th 2011 to hear more about this issue.

Vocabulary

• revenue – government income
• tertiary – 3rd level of education after primary and secondary

Pronunciation note
: “debt” rhymes with ‘get’. It has a silent ‘b’.






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