Debts that are 400% - 800% higher than the actual amount borrowed are common. The New Zealand government has the strange belief that high interest will somehow encourage people to pay. It doesn't. Even those who want to pay often have no hope of getting back in control of their debt. They end up having no option but bankruptcy and the government gets nothing.
Other countries have fairer systems for their student loans. Some have free tertiary education. Others don't charge exorbitant interest. Others (like the United States) offer the ability to get rid of a student loan debt through voluntary work. But not New Zealand.
We think a fairer system is needed. If there is greater fairness, the government will be paid because people can afford to do so. Everyone wins.