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To the Speaker of the House of Representatives

To the Speaker of the House of Representatives

As you may be aware today is 7 Billion Dollar day. This is the day the student debt has reached 7 billion.

This morning a group of students including myself decided to chalk parliament and the surrounding streets about the student debt issue. Myself and another student decided to chalk the concrete drive way in parliament grounds. We were chalking slogans like '7 billion student debt - shame to Labour and National'.

However we were prevented from exercising our democratic right to protest and freedom of expression by parliamentary security. We were told parliament was not the place for "that sort of thing".

We were taken inside and had our photos taken. Also our names and addresses were taken down and we were told our details would be passed on to the head of parliamentary security and possibly the police. We were then forced to clean up all our chalking, despite the fact that rain was washing it off already.

It is utterly disgraceful that the so-called representative parliament denies people freedom of expression. The reason we used chalk was because it was easy to wash off and would not do any permanent to parliament grounds or the surrounding area. It is more likely that the right wing Labour government and Tory opposition are not wanting the issue of student debt reaching 7 billion dollars to be too well known. It is increasingly clear that neither Labour nor National are capable of running the New Zealand education system.

I demand an apology the head of parliamentary security for denying us students the rights of freedom of expression. I also expect an apology for invasion of our privacy by the security guards, by taking our photos and demanding our addresses. We also ask that the chalk that was confiscated off us be returned.

Yours

Nick Kelly Campaigns Officer Victoria University Wellington Students Association

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