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Kiwis overseas get all jittery over loan repayments since defaulter's arrest

There has been a boost in repayments from overseas-based student loan borrowers - but some Kiwis are still defaulting and face arrest when they return home.

Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce says Nga Puna was approached by the IRD before his arrest.
Source: 1 NEWS

In January and February this year $29.7 million has been repaid - that's seven million dollars more than this time last year.

"There was definitely a much higher level of activity at the start of this year, with Inland Revenue receiving over 20,000 additional repayments compared with last year," Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce said.

Inland Revenue believe the arrest of Cook Islands man Ngatokotoru Puna meant people owing money have been "spurred into action".

Mr Puna was the first person to be arrested under laws introduced in 2014 to tackle the multi-million dollar problem of outstanding student loans held by overseas-based people.

A maths teacher, Mr Puna was in New Zealand for a conference, but upon trying to leave was picked up at Auckland Airport by authorities.

He had made no repayments ten years after graduating. He returned home to Rarotonga after his January arrest, vowing to pay off his $120,000 debt.

Mr Joyce said that around 20 people with loan debt are being monitored and may be arrested when they return to New Zealand.

There has also been a surge in communication to the IRD from overseas borrowers.

Emails to Inland Revenue were up 62 per cent over January and February and phone calls increased 55 per cent.

In the financial year to June 30 2015, the net amount repaid by overseas borrowers totalled $184.7 million.

Already this financial year repayments by overseas based borrowers have reached $133.8 million at the end of February.

Are you a borrower that has made contact with the IRD since January when a defaulter was arrested? Email your story to news@tvnz.co.nz. 

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They're over there! Smart kids create human arrow to help police catch burglary suspects

A group of children in the United Kingdom have been praised for using some "old school ingenuity" when they devised a clever method to help police find a pair of burglary suspects.

Easter festivities were underway on Good Friday in a rural community outside London when the group of 12 children spotted two men running through the same field their hidden chocolate eggs were. 

A police helicopter then flew overhead, prompting the quick-thinking kids to form a human arrow pointing in the direction of the suspected burglars. 

"The helicopter crew relayed this information to officers on the ground and a short time later two men were arrested," Surrey Police said in a press release.

"Their ingenuity proved a great help for our crews," Surrey Police said.

The kids have been dubbed the "Tremendous Twelve", a take on Enid Blyton's popular books such as The Secret Seven and The Famous Five. 

And, in true story book style, the children even had a dog in tow. 

The National Police Air Service (NPAS), which was working with Surrey Police, uploaded footage of the human arrow across social media, where it has received more than million views.

Officers arrested two men on suspicion of burgling a nearby farm. They were both bailed, pending further inquiries.