Students & Taxpayers May Fund Protest School
Taxpayers and students could end up funding a school for protesters if a plan by the Aotearoa Polytechnic Students’ Union (APSU) to set up a training establishment for lobbyists and activists is given the go-ahead.
Prebble’s Rebels president Clint Heine said APSU’s plan was outrageous. It was evidence that student associations had far too much money and were out of control. Heine said the government’s support of compulsory membership of student associations had led to this latest waste of student money.
"Labour and Alliance claim that compulsory membership of student associations is necessary so that these groups can provide so-called representation and services. However APSU’s plan confirms what critics of compulsory membership have been saying for years. Compulsory membership gives associations so much money they can embark on hare-brained schemes. This plan will do absolutely nothing to improve the quality of tertiary education," Mr Heine said.
Recently the Evening Post reported that APSU have already sunk $68,000 into a trust to establish the protester school. "That $68,000 has been forcibly taken from polytech students through compulsory membership. It’s money that students can’t spend on rent, food or books. How does this fit with APSU’s claim that it exists to help students?," Heine asked.
Heine said that the New Zealand Qualifications Authority should reject APSU’s application for accreditation to set up a private training establishment. "If NZQA wants to maintain standards it should squash APSU’s proposal as soon as it comes in the door," he said.
Heine also said it was laughable for John Barkess, APSU’s trust chairman, to claim the proposed establishment would train people to run "voluntary organisations such as students’ associations". "Barkess knows that most tertiary students are forced to join student associations. There is no way you can call NZ student associations voluntary organisations," Heine said.
Mr Heine also questioned the political motivation of the proposal. "Student politicians used to attempt to justify their existence by saying that they had to protest against the government, but now we have a left-wing government they’re suddenly supportive of the government. If this nutbar plan goes ahead the people trained as protesters will be sicked onto the political opponents of APSU and other compulsory student organisations. Businesses in particular will find groups of large, hairy persons, trained at taxpayer and student expense, camped outside their doors," Mr Heine said.
Mr Heine said it would be a scandalous waste of taxpayer and student money if NZQA give approval to this school for protesters.
Clint Heine (+64) (021) 122 8544