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Students Protesting Winz's Processing

17 March 2000

Students Protesting Winz's Processing

Approximately 300 Victoria and Massey Universities students presented their Human Submission to Minister of Education Trevor Mallard at parliament today.

The submission was a symbolic gesture highlighting the unsatisfactory handling of student loans and allowances by WINZ Student Services. Students called for the resignation of WINZ CEO Christine Rankin.

"Students are furious and WINZ's mismanagement is simply unacceptable. Even at today's action there are students who have not received any loan or allowance," Nick Henry, VUWSA Campaigns Officer said

In addition to the resignation of Mrs Rankin, students called for a Universal Student Allowance. "A universal allowance would be easier to administer than the current system," said Mr Henry.

"We see the universal allowance scheme as a genuine solution to the out of control loan debt and inequitable access to tertiary education. There has to be a concerted effort to look at the long term benefits rather than the short term cost,"

Although students see this as a realistic solution the current WINZ problems have not decreased.

"The claim that students are not receiving payment because of incorrectly filled applications, ignores any responsibility of the many forms and documentation lost or the misinformation given by WINZ," said Welfare Vice-President Yadana Saw

"We have students in severe hardship because of these errors which simply should not happen.]. The problem is not as acute because students are relying on friends, family, overdrafts, hardship funds and foodbanks for assistance," Ms Saw said.

" What we are witnessing is an abdication of responsibility from the organisation [WINZ Student Services]. Lip service will not pay for books, food and rent,"

Chris Hipkins President Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (Inc.) Te Ropu Tauira o te Kura Wananga o te Upoko o te Ika a Maui

+64 (4) 473 8566 VUWSA Office +64 (4) 499 7100 facsimile +64 (4) 384 6389 after hours +64 (021) 707 927 cellular

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