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WSU An Expensive Joke For Waikato Students

The 2002 WSU (Waikato Students Union) president has been elected by only 207 of 12,000 Waikato students, yet in 2002 all students will have to pay WSU a total of $500,000. WSU is now a bigger and more expensive joke than ever, Student Choice spokesman Clint Heine said today.

The results of the election, announced this month, show that only 3% or 375 students voted for all presidential candidates, and the person elected WSU president for 2002 received the votes of only 2% of students.

"Following this dismal turnout, the university and the media are dreaming if they think someone who received only 207 votes can legitimately speak on behalf of all 12,000 students at Waikato University," Clint Heine said.

Vice chancellor Bryan Gould thinks forcing all students to join WSU means they will all be represented, yet this pitifully low turnout shows that student representation based on compulsory membership is a farce, Clint Heine said. "The 12,000 students at Waikato University pay millions of dollars in tuition fees and should be treated as clients, not as political fodder for Mr Gould's political preferences," he said.

The violation of right to freedom of association resulting from compulsory membership is compounded by a huge waste of money. Next year WSU will take almost half a million dollars from Waikato students, yet compulsory membership and the low turnout prove WSU has no legitimate claim to this money, Clint Heine said.

"When the government, vice-chancellors and student politicians complain about the cost of tertiary education, the media should ask why these same groups are willing to see millions of dollars go to illegitimate and unrepresentative groups of student politicians," Clint Heine said.

"Last week I heard Radio New Zealand's education reporter Gael Woods question the PPTA over the legitimacy of an NCEA referendum which had a 50% turnout. I now look forward to Ms Woods challenging the legitimacy of the WSU president and other student politicians elected by turnouts of only 2%," Mr Heine said.

ends

For more information contact:

Clint Heine Spokesman Student Choice NZ clint@politician.com 021 122 8544

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