This time it's universal allowances (by 2012).

I'm currently a pseudo-student, so having gone through the system I know it pretty well.  The problems are:

  • Unfairness; some students get all some get nothing
  • Loop holes; by filling out forms x, y and z while dancing the can-can and blowing bubble gum you can get some cash

Through out my time as a student I've received the full allowance amount of 160 bucks a week... then the next year I get nothing thanks to the magic of ever changing form criteria. 

So based on my experience I support a universal allowance of around 60-80 bucks  a week.  You can't live off that amount, so you'll either have to get a weekend job or borrow off your loan.   An allowance set at this amount achieves the two conflicting objectives of helping out students, while discouraging bludgers.  It also offers consistency.

Will Labour's 2008 election bribe be as effective as Labour's 2005 interest free student loan deal?

Doubt it.  The loan write-off effected a much greater number of people and once passed into law the effect was instantaneous.

The allowance bribe only effects students studying, so as a consequence pisses off students who've graduated.  And some will have to wait till 2012 to get the allowance.  The bribe isn't as clear-cut as the one in 2005.

Next question; National apparently knew about this bribe - should they have 'snookered' Labour (as Cullen puts it)?

Good question.  NX-Files reckons yes.  John Key could've announced say an $80 a week universal allowance with a slightly modified tax plan.