These statistics only tell us so much. 67,796 students received an average of $1,157 each in the first quarter of 2010 (during term-time).
These numbers do not tell us if total student numbers are up. Only that far more students are qualifying for allowances and accommodation benefits. This may be a factor of the recessionary impact on their parental incomes. Then again these numbers may include thousands who can't find work and would otherwise have been on the unemployment benefit. In which case this will be positively affecting the unemployment rate and may account for the recent surprise when the March quarter rate dropped from 7.1 to 6 percent. I have an OIA request lodged with MSD which will fill in some of the gaps.
(These statistics make a report in the NZ Herald yesterday obsolete already. It was about the rise in the number of young people without income between 1996 and 2006 ;
Statistics New Zealand spokesman Conal Smith said there were many variables but it looked like a greater proportion of students were neither working nor getting a student allowance.
Blogs are much more up-to-date!)