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PTEC Not Legitimate Voice Of Tertiary Students

It is dishonest for the Public Tertiary Education Coalition (PTEC) to claim it represents all tertiary students because students are only linked to the group as a result of compulsory membership of student associations, Student Choice spokesman Clint Heine said today.

Mr Heine said PTEC’s claim to represent 200,000 tertiary students was dishonest and illegitimate. “At most of New Zealand’s tertiary institutions students are politically conscripted into membership of associations which then affiliate to the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA) and the Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association. NZUSA and ATSA have joined PTEC and now claim that PTEC magically represents all tertiary students,” Mr Heine said.

“This is blatantly dishonest. Students have been doubly misrepresented. They're forced to join student associations and now PTEC claims to represent them,” Mr Heine said. “Individual students have not been asked if they want to be part of PTEC and the vast majority of students would not be aware that the lobby group is claiming to speak on their behalf,” he said.

“Perhaps the AUS members who study political science could explain to their colleagues that forced membership of political groups is illegitimate and unethical,” Mr Heine said.

Mr Heine said that as AUS and ASTE membership was voluntary, those members who didn’t support their union or PTEC could resign. However tertiary students don’t have that right because they’re denied voluntary membership. "It’s very disturbing that the organisation that represents some of our top academics has a policy that supports compulsory membership. Forced membership is simply a flagrant breach of a fundamental civil right,” Mr Heine said.

The media and the public should understand that PTEC doesn't represent all tertiary students and can only claim to speak on behalf of a handful of NZUSA and ATSA employees.

Student Choice promotes freedom of association through voluntary membership of student associations.

Ends

15 July 2002

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