Otago Students To Throw “Really Big Tantrum”
Joint Media Statement of: Otago University Students
Otago Polytechnic Students Association
Otago Students To Throw “Really Big Tantrum” Over Lack Of Allowances
17 April 2002, For Immediate
Attn: Education Reporters
Otago students will tomorrow dress and behave as children on the streets of Dunedin to protest the fact that they are still financially tied to their parents until age 25. The street theatre is intended to illustrate to the public how students are discriminated against by the current allowances system.
“It’s important for members of the public to realise that students are the only people in our society denied a basic income for food, rent, and electricity. Young unemployed people don’t miss out on a benefit because of their parent’s income. Why are students discriminated against in this way?” said Otago University Students Association Campaign Coordinator Kyle Matthews.
The students will be informing the Dunedin public about the lack of financial support for students as part of its election year campaign. Due to the fact that allowances for students under twenty-five are means-tested on parental income, 33% of students receive an allowance. The New Zealand University Students Association Income and Expenditure Survey 2001 indicated that only 29% of students receive on average $809 annually from their parents.
“Two-thirds of students aren’t getting any support from the government for their studies, yet their parents aren’t supporting them either. So the students fall through into a whole heap of debt. Why are students, who are educating themselves for the future of the country treated so badly? Student debt is a community issue, and the people of Dunedin need to see this now, rather than when every tertiary graduate charges them more for the goods and services they provide.” said Otago Polytechnic Students Association Vice-President Michelle Watt.
[The groups will be doing visual theatre at the Octagon at 1pm to allow the media to get pictures]