Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Predictable Response From Compulsory Campaigners

Predictable Response From Compulsory Campaigners At Waikato

Patrick Dunford

16 October 2000

As voting begins in the Waikato Student Union's membership referendum, a range of pro-compulsory organisations have issued press releases justifying a compulsory stance.

Waikato University broke new ground in New Zealand in 1996 when, under the guidance of a pro-voluntary student executive, members of the association voted for voluntary membership. That status was subsequently confirmed in further votes held in subsequent years.

Recent votes held on other campuses have shown that student association executives have a disproportionate amount of influence on the outcome of membership referenda. The Labour Government, which supports compulsory membership, earlier this year passed a law which removed the checks and balances put in place by the preceding National Government and restored the ability of student associations to manipulate the conduct of campaigns and referenda to their own advantage.

In the recent Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology referendum, the Students Association successfully opposed a fully postal ballot, which would have produced a much higher turnout than the 9% who did actually vote, but which would probably have sustained voluntary membership at the institution. As it was, the pro-compulsory vote was the same as in the 1999 referendum, but the much lower turnout resulted in an outcome favouring compulsory membership of the institution.

It is unfortunate that when 8% or even 1% of students at tertiary institutions can bind the other 92 - 99% of students who have not participated in decisionmaking processes, such as referenda, there are no checks and balances in place to ensure fair campaigning and voting. There are much greater requirements for national elections. When student associations are exploiting a law that contravenes the right to freedom of association, much fairer rules should be applied.

For the reasons outlined above, I believe that there will be a small on campus turnout favouring compulsory membership. It will be fascinating to compare this with the situation at Auckland University where the enlightened executive is conducting a fully postal ballot and is sharing resources with groups favouring voluntary membership. The pro-compulsory campaigners at Waikato have trotted out their usual mishmash of propaganda arguments and halftruths, funded by moneys extorted from students of compulsory associations. Why should students have to hand over money to support these wannabe politicians and Labour Party supporters.


Web site :

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Legendary Bassist David Friesen Plays Wellington’s Newest Jazz Venue

Friesen is touring New Zealand to promote his latest album Another Time, Another Place, recorded live at Auckland's Creative Jazz Club in 2015. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Father - Descending Into The Depths of Dementia

Florian Zeller's dazzling drama The Father explores the effects of a deeply unsettling illness that affects 62,000 Kiwis, a number expected to grow to 102,000 by 2030. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Blade Runner Redivivus

When Ridley Scott's innovative, neo-noir, sci-fi flick Blade Runner was originally released in 1982, at a cost of over $45 million, it was a commercial bomb. More>>

14-21 October: New Zealand Improv Festival In Wellington

Imagined curses, Shibuya’s traffic, the apocalypse, and motherhood have little in common, but all these and more serve as inspiration for the eclectic improvised offerings coming to BATS Theatre this October for the annual New Zealand Improv Festival. More>>


Bird Of The Year Off To A Flying Start

The competition asks New Zealanders to vote for their favourite bird in the hopes of raising awareness of the threats they face. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books:
Jenny Abrahamson's John & Charles Enys: Castle Hill Runholders, 1864-1891

This volume will be of interest to a range of readers interested in the South Island high country, New Zealand’s natural environment, and the history of science. More>>