The “Stuffed” opinion piece starts off

“You’re at the airport, ticket in hand, and sweating bullets as the Customs officer examines your passport. Something’s not right.” “Come with me, ma’am,” she says. “ “Then you’re handed over to the police, your flight back to the US leaves without you, and you’re placed under arrest for the crime of… not repaying your student loan.” “It sounds like a Kafka story, but it happened in Auckland just last week.”

Let me pause to get a towel (for my tears) and a bucket (you can guess what for because you can see where this is heading).

I know it’s a little pedantic, but I think you usually encounter Customs when you’re inbound rather than outbound, and in both directions, the officials who have an interest in your passport are immigration, not customs. A minor point but points to credibility does it not?

So, “sweating bullets” huh? If that’s the case when you’re merely leaving the country, you’d have to say “well done” to the officer. You’re clearly hiding something. And guess what? She was. Why would anybody be surprised? The authorities have been very clear for a long time: Not arranging to repay your student loan will result in a stop at the border if you try to leave. You take the gamble, you pay the price.

“It sounds like a Kafka story”? One can but guess what this author means when suggesting a “Kafka” story, but given the emotive speak so far, let’s assume the obvious. The writings of Franz Kafka from his depressed, obsessed, maybe paranoid perspective, living in Prague under the Austro–Hungarian Empire in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Now that’s a good comparison with the life of a New Zealand student loan defaulter, isn’t it?

“Imagine if your bank sent goons to ‘arrest’ you for not paying your credit card bill. There are civil remedies for every other kind of debt. It’s only when you borrow from the government, with its monopoly on violence, that you might find yourself deprived of your liberty.”

Is there no end to the emotive claptrap this author will use to make a point?

Your bank won’t send “goons” to arrest you for not paying your credit card bill, though that might be an effective way to prevent people defaulting. If you owe money there should be a register and the law should indeed prevent you crossing the border if you’re avoiding your responsibilities. Why wouldn’t that be fair and reasonable? You should indeed be deprived of your liberty at least until you make some kind of arrangement, but calling border officials “goons” for doing the job we sensible kiwis actually want them to do, should see the author getting a full strip search every time he crosses the border for the next 5 years.

There seems to be something in the psyche of young people today (young people being anybody younger than me of course – which these days covers a vast part of the population), that makes them think principles are largely irrelevant, borrowing isn’t something that has to be dealt with as agreed and authority is unreasonable to expect you to do what you agreed to do.

This, from the comments on Stuff, is very telling:

“How?” If you need to be told … oh never mind …we shouldn’t interfere with natural selection – that’s the problem!

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Danny
I've worked in media and business for many years and share my views here to generate discussion and debate. I once leaned towards National politically and actually served on an electorate committee once, but the party lost its way and is still lost in the wilderness. Nearly voted Labour once when Roger Douglas was Minister of Finance. I could never see my way clear to voting for NZ First for many reasons but I'm far from committed to one party or one set of views. Years ago I supported Bob Jones and the New Zealand Party and a quest for change and I have voted for Act more than once. Today, politically I don't have a natural home - so I have an open mind.