New Zealand has an election in two months' time and we expect to see a deterioration in the government's position towards overseas based borrowers after this. This may be because of the harsh effect of Covid on the New Zealand economy. If the National Party becomes the next government, they are on record as saying that the Labour government's approach is soft on student loan debtors at the expense of "hard working New Zealanders".
If you've had to deal with the IRD, Baycorp, or other IRD student loan debt collectors, in the last three years, I'm sure you won't feel that you have been dealt with softly. We know, from our dealings with so many of you that you want to do the right thing, but that the enormous interest and penalties often make it impossible.
Our general suggestions: If you have a student loan debt, you should be doing everything possible to get rid of it ASAP, because things are likely to get worse. If you are in financial difficulties, and have little of value, NZ bankruptcy may suit your circumstances. We don't know if NZ bankruptcy will be removed as an option after the election so there may be little time to lose if this fits your circumstances. If you are struggling but have some assets, an IRD hardship application may be an option. Or getting the debt paid off ASAP (there are options for dealing with this).
If you are based in New Zealand it is not safe to assume that interest free will always be the case.
We are here to help.