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Why Shouldn't Students Call It As They See It?

Why Shouldn't Students Call It As They See It?

Re: NZUSA & ATSA support for Alliance

By Mark Baxter

Clint Heine rightly points out that when it comes to political opinions, New Zealand's tertiary students do not all share the same views. However he then goes on to suggest that because of student's differing opinions their student associations should not be allowed to formulate opinion on serious issues affecting students - is Clint advocating that students' associations need to all sit down with all their members in a big circle and reach consensus to determine their opinion?

Could you imagine thousands of young people all sitting around and agreeing 100% with each other about everything? Perhaps that's how things work in Clint's party, ACT; but in the real world democracy is necessary. Students' associations all work democratically and opinions reached are those voted for by students.

Representing students is one of the prime functions of students' associations * Who else is going to advocate on behalf of students? Representation of members is the right of all bodies in a free country. Naturally when someone comes up with policy that is good for students, associations will say good things about it, and conversely criticise policy that is bad for students. Much is the same way CORSO or the local hot rod club do.

One may ask why Clint in fairness isn't criticising other bodies that also democratically form their own opinions and fight for them, such as landlords associations, chambers of commerce, or the business round table. The reason students' associations are attacked is because ACT doesn’t like being criticised. ACT's policies have very negative effects for students and consequently associations criticise ACT's policy.

Clint is part of a movement whose roots started with the young Liberals in Australia. They secretly planned to silence student opposition to their party's attacks on the education system by destroying students' associations themselves. ACT are no different in intent.

Mark Baxter has been involved with OUSA as an executive member and campaigns staff, including successively promoting universal membership of students' associations, both at Otago and Waikato.

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