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Governor General Leaves Students Out In The Cold

Governor-General And Mayor Of Wellington Leave Students Out In The Cold

The Governor-General of New Zealand, the Hon Dame Sylvia Cartwright, and Mayor of Wellington Kerry Prendergast refused to sign the national petition in support of a living allowance for all students at the opening of Victoria University’s Pipitea campus this morning.

Guests were welcomed into Rutherford House by representatives of Te Atiawa at a bitterly cold dawn ceremony. Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) president Amanda Hill said the petition was offered to the dignitaries as they left the ceremony, and both of them refused to sign it.

“While members of Victoria University Council, and representatives of Te Atiawa signed the petition in support of a living allowance for all students, two of our most prominent leaders were not prepared to go beyond the opening of new buildings in support of tertiary students” Hill said.

“Only a third of students receive student allowances. The rest have to rely on student loan payments to live, which are a significant part of student debt. This is now over $6 billion and rising,” said Hill. “Ms Prendergast will graduate with an MBA from Victoria in May, and I believe she will be one of the few who leave without a student loan.”

“Student debt has funded these buildings. The least our civic and national dignitaries can do is go beyond official niceties and add their signature to the thousands who have given their support to changing a system that forces students to borrow to live” said Hill.

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