See what happens when you enforce the rules…compliance increases

No surprises here that after the arrest of student loan defaulter has resulted in increased compliance.

The border arrest of a man over his student-loan debt has contributed to a surge in repayments, Inland Revenue says – with emails and phone calls from borrowers up by more than 50 per cent.

About 20 people who have defaulted on their student loans are being monitored for possible arrest if they return to New Zealand.

In January, Cook Islands man Ngatokotoru Puna, 40, was arrested as he tried to leave New Zealand.

Student unions criticised the border arrest policy as draconian and likely to make overseas Kiwis “student-loan refugees” – unable to return home for weddings, funerals or other important events.

Over the first two months of this year there was a 31 per cent increase in repayments by overseas-based borrowers, compared to the same period last year, with $7 million more received.

Emails to IRD were up 62 per cent, and phone calls increased by 55 per cent.


Mr Puna, who said his uncle was Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, was arrested at Auckland Airport on January 18. The Herald revealed the arrest on January 22.

“Inland Revenue believe that the publicity around the first arrest at the border has contributed to the increased activity,” Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce said.

“It’s likely that a number of people were spurred into action. It’s just a pity that it takes these sorts of steps to encourage some people to meet their obligations to taxpayers.

“There was definitely a much higher level of activity at the start of this year, with Inland Revenue receiving over 20,000 additional repayments compared with last year.”

There are 112,390 overseas-based student-loan borrowers, and 70 per cent of them are in default.

Sounds like they need to arrest another loan dodger to get even more compliance.


– NZ Herald



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  • Crowgirl

    It’s really not hard to comply – these defaulters are extracting the urine and need arresting.

    I’m happy to say my loan was cleared in March so my debt to society has been repaid – it took 15 years give or take and its great to have the monkey off my back. It’s worth it to make the repayments rather than spend your life ducking and weaving away from the authorities.

  • Andrew Gibson

    If these refugees cant come back for weddings etc, just explain the reasons to family….oh, er maybe not.

  • johcar

    My niece is based overseas and has an outstanding student loan. She travels back to NZ from Europe at least once a year, and has no problems leaving again – she is sensible and continues to pay it down while living/working overseas…

  • R&BAvenger

    Good job. I repaid both student loans I had, one with interest and one without. That’s what I signed up on the dotted line for and made sure I met my obligations as the government, thanks to the generosity of my fellow taxpayers, met their side of the agreement.

  • waldopepper

    if they will just apply the same principal to the current gun debate, and throw the book at those with illegal firearms, rather than bothering law abiding gun owners, we might get the desired result there as well.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Only 20 being looked at? Take off the blinkers. This shows that applying the laws of the land does work.

  • kloyd0306

    How novel. People actually taking responsibility.

    Now, what other Govt Depts can take the hint.

  • LocalYokel

    Student unions criticised the border arrest policy as draconian and likely to make overseas Kiwis “student-loan refugees” – unable to return home for weddings, funerals or other important events.

    If they can afford to fly back and forth for social events, they can afford to pay off their debts as they contracted to?

  • Wheninrome

    If we have a loan to the bank or a finance company (mortgage or anything) we are expected to pay the interest and principle when due, it matters not whether we are here overseas, or indeed in the future on Mars, no pay lose the security.
    Maybe it is time to get some sort of security for these loans I thought they were looking at that if a person was travelling overseas and had a student loan, any enlightenment on this.

  • Diehard

    The entitlement free loader attitude is alive and well in NZ. Not just with beneficiaries but also students. Many of whom are having a hard time facing the reality that the degree they just completed is worthless. Always forgetting that the rest of us realised early on the worthlessness of many degrees and decided to actually work for a living. The left decided it was our obligation to subsidise your worthless degree. Time to suck it up and pay your dues, you can’t all work for the Auckland council after completing your BA.

    My son paid his off in 18 months and it wasn’t hard to do.

  • manuka416

    So true. When constrained by rules and agreements, there’s nothing so liberating as an idle threat.