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2% Turnout In Farcical Wsu Election


2% Turnout In Farcical Wsu Election

Student Choice today called the latest election at the compulsory Waikato Student Union (WSU) farcical in light of extremely low voter turnout of less than two percent of enrolled students.

The results of the election for WSU's 2005 executive released last month, show only 202 of the compulsory association's 14,500 members voted. WSU president, Sandy Pushpamangalam, was reelected by only one percent of students, with a total of 138 votes. Only two students at the university's Tauranga campus voted. Despite this dismal turnout, WSU claims to be a "lively" and "healthy" organisation.

Student Choice spokesperson Glenn Peoples said the university council and the government are deluding themselves if they think WSU legitimately represents all students at the university of Waikato. The only reason all Waikato students are members of WSU is because of compulsory membership: unless students join, they can't get a degree.

Peoples said the pitiful WSU result is further evidence that the archaic political dinosaur of compulsory membership is unjust. Each year WSU takes over half a million dollars from all Waikato students, and claims to speak on their behalf, when in reality it's a tiny club of people with particular political views, who take money from all students to promote those views. It's free money for the political hobby horses of a few.

Peoples says that performance and voter interest like this sends a clear signal to politicians and the university council. "Basically this tells MPs that they don't have to listen to WSU. It claims to speak for students, but it does no such thing. Someone on the university council needs to challenge WSU's claim to speak for all Waikato students."

The message is clear: compulsory membership equals illegitimate, unrepresentative organisations with massive unearned incomes.

Student Choice supports Voluntary membership of student associations on the grounds of freedom of association. www.studentchoice.org.nz


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