Labour’s student loan incentive “good start” – but needs work

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Labour’s plan to wipe student debt for people taking up public service jobs in smaller centres is good news – but may need more work, the Public Service Association says.

Labour leader Andrew Little says the idea would incentivise moving to the regions to fill job shortages, and might extend to private sector jobs as well.

PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says any scheme that helps students deal with debt is a good idea – and it would also ensure quality candidates for job vacancies in smaller centres.

But Mr Barclay would like to see more detail before the PSA could give its unqualified support.

“Over recent years, the government has moved to centralise the way public services are delivered – which has stripped regional offices to a skeleton staff.

“Any scheme like this would need to be supported by a government commitment to maintain public service roles in the regions – and to make sure those jobs are fulfilling and sustainable.

“If this proposal means Labour will retain public service jobs in the regions, we would welcome it.”

Mr Barclay also says Labour would need to restrict the relocation scheme to jobs or regions where there are no local qualified workers available.

“Where there are hard to fill vacancies, Labour’s proposal could help revitalise our struggling regional towns and cities – and give tomorrow’s public service workers valuable experience.”