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Rankin Must Resign Say Students

Media Statement - For Immediate Release

Rankin Must Resign Say Students

Students on a protest march through Wellington today echoed the resounding calls from other students around the country for the resignation of Work and Income New Zealand's Chief Executive, Christine Rankin. The march was organised by the Victoria University of Wellington Students Association (VUWSA), and followed similar marches in Auckland and Otago yesterday.

"For the many thousands of student's who have still not been credited their living component of the loans or their course related costs, who have waited for long periods of time on the phone lines, and who are receiving mixed messages, WINZ is seen as frustratingly incompetent. Christine Rankin is the head of this organisation, and the buck stops with her", said Sam Huggard, Co President of the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA).

"We do not believe that WINZ were sufficiently prepared to take on student loans this year. When there were inevitably problems, Mrs Rankin has consistently shifted the blame in recent months on to students and institutions. This simply doesn't wash with students, and their response is - she's got to go," said Sam Huggard.

"Student anger continues to grow as their situations become desperate" said Tanja Schutz, Co President, NZUSA. "Increasing pressure from landlords, utility companies with overdue bills, combined with the shame of accessing food grants to survive is downright unacceptable."

"Another major issue we are hearing of is transport costs" said Tanja Schutz. "How are students supposed to access their institutions, if they can't afford the transport costs to get there".

Students from institutions at Auckland today held another march that resulted in a short occupation of WINZ Student Services offices in Karangahape Road in Auckland. The group had a discussion with staff, highlighting their concerns, and then peacefully left. They proceeded then to a demonstration outside the police headquarters to protest police violence on their march yesterday.

The New Zealand University Students Association and its constituent members are now turning their attention to preparing comprehensive submissions to the upcoming review of WINZ's handling of student loans, including a casebook of student grievance forms about their dealings with WINZ.

Ends.

For further comment:

Sam Huggard NZUSA Co President 025 86 86 73, or 04 498 2500

Tanja Schutz, NZUSA Co President, 025 86 86 77, or 04 498 2500


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