Cracking New Zealand's growing student loan debt problem

Date of publication: October 31, 2017


In 2011, New Zealand's student loan scheme faced an uncertain future. Government Ministers placed mounting pressure on Inland Revenue (IR) to rectify a rapidly growing debt problem caused by borrowers who had moved overseas and were not making loan repayments. Amidst a politically charged and fiscally challenging situation, IR partnered with Colmar Brunton to bring about behavioural change using a range of communication, operational and policy levers, each inspired by powerful research insights. The impact of the research and resulting initiatives is striking, with more than $389 million in additional payments made, a ROI of over 2000%, and strong community support for the actions taken.

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