'No money to live on': Students impacted by pandemic feel let down by govt

Danny Watson 22/11/2021

LISTEN: Tertiary students say the government has not provided them with enough support to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many students have faced financial hardship from losing jobs, according to the president of the New Zealand Union of Students' Associations.

Andrew Lessells says he would like to see the government introduce income support for students.

"We know that learners are some of the most precarious across society, particularly when COVID hits," he told Magic Talk.

Lessells says students find work through student job search, which is usually a "one-off" job just to earn a living while they are studying.

"If you think about how students earn their money they're working in casual hospo jobs, they're working in bars, and they're working in cafes. 

"By the time COVID hits, the jobs they would have got the wage subsidy for have disappeared. So we've got tens of thousands of students right now crying out because they have no money to live on," he told Magic Talk.

Lessells says very few students receive the full student allowance, while many are having to borrow "huge amounts" of money to survive.

"It's not a great solution when we're supposed to be looking after everyone during COVID."

Listen to the full interview with Andrew Lessells above.

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