Expats urged to repay their student loan debt for Christchurch

A campaign by a top scientist urging overseas student loan debtors to repay their debts to help Christchurch has the backing of politicians, educators and the Reserve Bank governor.

But one student has described the scheme as a “guilt trip” that will have little effect.

New Zealander of the Year and decorated Victoria University physical science professor Sir Paul Callaghan admits his Heroic Educated Kiwi Expatriates campaign – heke, which means “to reduce” in Maori – will be controversial. “If the hot coals fall over me, so be it – I’m too old to care.”

The campaign was an appeal to overseas debtors “from their academic family back home in New Zealand” to help with the estimated $30 billion recovery bill.

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