New Zealand’s fear of an other kind of refugees

Two years ago, Ngatokotoru Puna, nephew of Cook Island’s Prime Minister Henry Puna got arrested at Auckland Airport when he was about to leave New Zealand. He was the first person who got arrested due to student’s loan debt. Ngatokotoru is one of the incredible amount of 110.000 kiwi students who are in debt of their student’s loan redemption. A great amount of those do not live anymore in New Zealand but rather in Australia.

In March 2014, a new law was passed which allows this harsh arresting methods. New Zealand’s finance authorities also strive for an Australian cooperation to get an easier access to the debtors addresses. Currently, 20 debtors are on the wanted list and face detention when they try to enter New Zealand.

Critics of those methods are mainly students organisations and members of the Green Party. They fear a new kind of refugees. Former students who avoid returning to their home country or the country of their student time.

Positive about the efforts and deterrents is the fact that 30 percent of the debtors started to repay their student loans.

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