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VUWSA withdraws from NZUSA

Press Release: Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA)

Earlier this week the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) Executive decided to give notice to withdraw its’ membership of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA).

VUWSA President Sonya Clark says that “it’s incredibly important, particularly now, for students to have an effective national voice on issues that matter to students. Unfortunately, the VUWSA Executive feels that NZUSA no longer fulfils that role.”

“There have been concerns for a long time about NZUSA’s lack of performance and visibility on student issues, for the $45,000 of our students’ money that funds it. We want to look at more effective uses of that money to ensure students have a voice at a government level” says Ms Clark.

“Last year, our members voted for NZUSA to undertake reforms via a referendum. As an accountable organisation, the Executive believes that the reforms undertook this year aren’t extensive enough and are unlikely to occur in the future, so can no longer justify continued membership” says Ms Clark.

“We think that President Daniel Haines has done the best job he could, but the organisation has been ineffective for some time. The vast majority of students are unaware of its existence.”

Since the introduction of Voluntary Student Membership in 2011, VUWSA has been running operational deficits and the NZUSA membership fee has been funded out of depleting reserves.

“While our financial position has improved this year, we remain in a very tight and uncertain fiscal environment, and the Executive feels it is unwise to continue funding NZUSA when there is little tangible benefit for Victoria students at high cost” says Ms Clark.

The recently elected President for VUWSA for 2015, Rick Zwaan, is looking forward to what may come next.

“VUWSA has a long history of speaking out and campaigning for issues that matter to students, both at a local and national level, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Freeing up $45,000 in spending means that the Executive can prioritise these funds and make sure they are being spent effectively” says Mr Zwaan.

“I remain committed to ensuring that there is a strong voice on national issues. We have a few ideas about how to do that and we’ll be working with a number of parties over the coming months to progress what it looks like.”

ENDS

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