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Student Politicians Have No Claim On TEC Positions

Student politicians should not be granted representation on the proposed Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) because compulsory student associations are illegitimate and do not represent the views of all students, Student Choice spokesman Clint Heine said today.

Following the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission’s proposal to establish TEC, the New Zealand University Students’ Association (NZUSA) called on the government to include student representation on the new commission.

“NZUSA’s claim to represent all 100,000 university students is fundamentally illegitimate because the organisation is based on forced membership of student associations,” Mr Heine said.

“Apart from Auckland all university students are forced to join regional associations which then affiliate to NZUSA. Individual students are not members of NZUSA; instead students are forced by compulsory membership to join regional associations which then affiliate to the national organisation. Forced membership of political groups is not equivalent to legitimate political representation,” Mr Heine said.

“The NZUSA president has no mandate to speak on behalf of all university students as this position is not elected by a system of one student, one vote. NZUSA’s policy is not agreed to by all students but is created by a tiny number of activists and fulltime student politicians. In addition, students support many political parties yet NZUSA’s policies are virtually identical to those of the Alliance party,” Mr Heine said.

“If TEAC and the government are genuinely interested in the views of students they need to canvass opinion far wider than the partisan, radical statements made by NZUSA and other illegitimate organisations such as the Aotearoa Tertiary Students’ Association and Te Mana Akonga,” Mr Heine said.


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