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Voluntary Victories A Huge Defeat For NZUSA & ATSA

Voluntary Victories A Huge Defeat For NZUSA & ATSA

The pro-voluntary results in student association membership referenda at Auckland University and Unitec are a major defeat for the New Zealand University (NZUSA) and the Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association (ATSA), Student Choice spokesman Glenn Peoples said today.

In results announced on Friday, 5621 Auckland University students voted to retain voluntary membership of the Auckland University Students Association (AUSA) ahead of 2224 who voted to relapse to compulsory membership. At Unitec 1955 students voted to keep voluntary membership of the Unitec Student Union, ahead of 1316 who wanted forced membership.

Peoples said NZUSA spent thousands of dollars trying to overturn voluntary membership. "If compulsory won NZUSA stood to gain over $100,000 in additional AUSA levies so they ran an expensive campaign which included flying in dozens of tame student politicians. This backfired badly because students saw how desperate NZUSA was to get their hands on their money," he said.

Peoples said the results provided further evidence that NZUSA and ATSA - which both support compulsory membership - don't represent the views of all tertiary students.

He said even though he was delighted with the results students should not have to go through a referendum process to secure their right to freedom of association.

"A lot of students spent a lot of time and their own money defending voluntary membership. No other New Zealanders' right to freedom of association is conditional upon a vote of this kind. Like everyone else students should be able to decide - on an individual basis without referenda - whether or not they join an incorporated society. Maharey's education act violates freedom of association and until it's repealed tertiary students won't have true freedom of association," Peoples said.

Student Choice supports voluntary student association membership on the grounds of freedom of association.

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