Tim Walker’s Debt

Kiwis who rack up sizeable student loans through partying, idiocy and other youthful shenanigans, shouldn’t have to repay that money if their living expenses are too high…

That’s how Aucklander Nga Puna felt, anyway; he thought that because he wasn’t earning much he didn’t have to repay the $40,000 loan he incurred on his way to becoming a teacher.

…They also shouldn’t have to pay it if they have a lot of bills, if they have other things to spend their money on; or if they just can’t be bothered.

Nga Puna claimed the cost of living in Auckland – with five kids and a mortgage no less – is so expensive, and his starting pay as a mathematics teacher so low that simply, he couldn’t afford to keep up loan repayments so basically, he allowed them to lapse.

For some reason Puna’s loan has since risen to $130,000 and he now has an interest in going overseas but inexplicably, the New Zealand Government won’t let him.

He can’t believe the injustice; I can’t believe the stupidity.

This man felt that “because he couldn’t afford it”, he was above repaying his $40,000 student loan – as though he’s the only person in New Zealand who, despite willingly accepting financial assistance from the Government, would rather shirk their repayments in favour of more expendable cash.

This Nga Puna character is probably the same kind of person who likes to save a little extra by not paying for house insurance then when an electrical fault burns his house to the ground, plays the ‘poor me’ card, taking advantage of good-natured (but desperately ignorant) Kiwis by capitalising on one of those ‘Give a Little’ websites.

People like Nga Puna and his defaulted student loan are in fact the reason this nation of ours experiences the financial woes we so frequently do: the people of New Zealand have billions of dollars on credit – including student loans from last century and beyond – and many of us with zero intention of ever repaying that money.

‘It’s only the Government’, we think, ‘they can handle it’, we argue, ‘we deserve it more than they do’ and such; alas the sad truth is that there is no way a national economy can sustain that kind of treatment – IOUs only work when somebody picks up the deficit at the other end and ask around, there’s nobody at the other end.

In that sense we’re a nation of freeloaders; that said enjoy this piece of free insight: if we want to see an end to inflated Auckland house prices along with the aforementioned exorbitant cost of living, we need to stop wanting what we cannot afford and start spending actual money.

Nga Puna is unwittingly perpetuating the financial predicament that he is so shamelessly condemning.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Sasha Fool/I Ronny

Photography by Tan Jobble/Minnie S Bust

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