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Occupation Wave Hits Auckland!

A wave of nationwide campus protests and occupations continues today as Auckland University students protest against user-pays education. "Students are protesting in disgust at the Labour-led Government's unwillingness to seriously address the high fees, massive debt burden and lack of support facing us," said Megan Hall, spokesperson for Fightback! the group organising the protest.

"We are concerned that fees constitute a clear barrier to education and that tertiary study is no longer an option for many people," said Hall. "We are acting in solidarity with students around the country, especially those Victoria University students who have occupied their University's main administration building."

"We support the focus of this wave of protests on University management. These management big-wigs are failing to put pressure on the Labour-Led Government to adequately fund tertiary education. Instead they choose to pass funding cuts on to students and make staff cuts so they can fund their own exorbitant salaries," said Hall.

Students will rally in the University of Auckland Quad (Princes St) at 12:30pm. Speakers will include Alliance MP and Minister of Youth Affairs Laila Harré.

"Students are doing what they have to in the fight for what is their right - free education. We have had to put up with these right wing policies for too long. This government has promised to do something about the situation of students in this country, but so far they have failed to do anything for the majority of people affected by the Loans scheme and user-pays education. Labour and the Alliance have yet to make any move on improving access to high quality tertiary education, despite their election promises," said Hall.

The demands of Fightback, in conjunction with other student groups across the country, are:

Free education for all Universal student allowances Reinstatement of the Emergency Unemployment Benefit Democratic control of universities including student representation at managerial level Dumping of student debt An end to privatisation, managerialism and competition in education Adequate government funding to tertiary providers Adequate research funding not controlled by corporate interests Removal of all non-financial barriers to education No cops on campus No more staff cuts

ends

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