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Alliance Rout - NZUSA/ATSA Misrepresentation

Alliance Rout Confirms NZUSA/ATSA Misrepresentation

The electoral rout of the Alliance confirms that the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA) and the Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association (ATSA) misrepresented the political views of most tertiary students when both organisations endorsed the Alliance’s education policy, Student Choice said today.

In the lead up to the election NZUSA and ATSA praised the Alliance’s tertiary education policy, said the policy was the best option for students and advised students to support the Alliance and like-minded parties, Student Choice spokesman Clint Heine said.

“NZUSA and ATSA claim to represent 200,000 tertiary students and said that the Alliance's education policy was the best on offer. Why then did the Alliance only receive 22,500 list votes? If NZUSA and ATSA actually represent 200,000 students, why didn’t the Alliance receive students' votes?” Mr Heine asked.

“The answer is that NZUSA and ATSA do not reflect the political views of all tertiary students. This is because both organisations and most local student associations are based on compulsory membership. Saturday’s result is clear evidence that forcing people to join a political group does not mean that their views will be accurately represented,” Mr Heine said.

“If NZSUA and ATSA want to have any credibility, they should support voluntary membership which would allow students to join associations on an individual basis,” Mr Heine said. “Students could then join or leave associations on the basis of how closely the groups reflect their individual views. This is not a radical concept – it’s how all other parties and representative groups operate,” he said.

Without voluntary membership NZUSA and ATSA will continue to misrepresent the views of the vast majority of tertiary students Mr Heine said.

Clint Heine 021 122 8544

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

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