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NZUSA: Going, Going....

Press Release
Student Choice - sc@students.ac.nz

For immediate release - 19 July 1999

NZUSA: GOING, GOING....

On Saturday the New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA) lost a second member association and is on the brink of losing a third, leaving the widely criticised body with just four out of seven local associations as members, Student Choice spokesman Clint Heine said today.

The University of Canterbury Students' Association pulled out of NZUSA on Saturday in protest at the organisation's lack of direction and non-value for money. The Otago University Students' Association is also on track to withdraw later this year. Along with the Waikato Students' Union, which withdrew in 1997, this brings the total number of departures to three.

Mr Heine said the loss of members and developments at the NZUSA's July conference show that the organisation is suffering a severe financial and political crisis.

"In addition to the loss of two further members, NZUSA will be in the red by the end of the year, and a vote of no confidence in the president was not supported only on the condition that she starts working on student issues and abandon her use of student money to fund the anti-APEC fanatics," Heine said. "This adds up to an organisation that is out of touch with students and divorced from reality," he said.

"Something is clearly very wrong with NZUSA. It costs a huge amount of money to run, it doesn't achieve very much and it means very little to the average student. Most students would be hard pushed to name the president of NZUSA, let alone say what the organisation does," Mr Heine said.

"For years NZUSA has claimed to speak for all university students but these latest events show that the organisation is an irrelevancy," Mr Heine said. "NZUSA has been captured by fulltime radical student politicians. Instead of listening to their members they have concentrated on their personal agendas - issues such as feminism, East Timor and opposition to free trade," he said. "Canterbury and Otago have joined Waikato in saying enough is enough," Mr Heine said.

Clint Heine said NZUSA could not blame voluntary student membership for their problems as both Canterbury and Otago universities still had compulsory membership.

Clint Heine said he was pleased that the media and politicians realised that NZUSA did not represent all students. "Politically, most students are near the centre, but NZUSA is to the left of even the Alliance. The professional student politicians in their Lambton Quay offices wouldn't recognise an average student if they fell one," he said.

ENDS

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