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Otago Polytechnic students signed a banner and swapped ‘‘billion dollar'' notes for the chance to throw sponges at a debt monster, while at the University of Otago, several hundred participated in a two-hour debt monster birthday party and 281 signed protest postcards which will be posted to Tertiary Education Minister Pete Hodgson.
Those 281 people collectively owed $5,754,511, or an average of $20,478 each, Otago University Students Association president Simon Wilson said.
‘‘This exercise has really put an individual face to student debt. We wanted to show the minister that student debt isn't just a number on a spreadsheet to us, it is affecting the lives and futures of real people.''
- About 100 students marched on Parliament yesterday to protest the student loan debt milestone.
The placard-carrying students gathered in front of Parliament's forecourt about lunchtime, listened to a rock band and chanted slogans, before departing after about 30 minutes.