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Maharey welcomes the end of an error

20 October 2000 Media Statement

Maharey welcomes the end of an error

Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey today welcomed the decision of Waikato University students to reinstate compulsory membership of their students' association.

Results of a campus-wide student referendum which has reinstated compulsory student association membership from 1 January 2001 were released today. The Government passed new legislation this year providing for students to determine the membership status of their associations through fair and unbiased referenda. Mr Maharey said that he was pleased that Waikato students had directed to restore universal association membership as it ensured that they had an effective voice within the university and access to a full range of services.

"Waikato students were the first to turn their students' association voluntary and it is very siginificant that they now overturned that decision. This really is the end of an error.

"The on-campus services and advocacy available to most other tertiary students had all but dried up at the university because the association was simply not viable. Universal membership will ensure that there is a strong financial base to offer a full range of services.

"This Government has a strong working relationship with students' associations. For example this year we have worked with them in partnership to achieve:
 additional investment in Student Job Search to get more jobs for students this summer;
 improvements to student loans processing by the Department of Work and Income next year;
 monitoring of the Government's fee stabilisation package; and,
 advice on how we can reshape our tertiary education system to ensure relevant high quality courses are offered.

"Waikato students have had no voice during all of this work. I look forward to a strong and positive working relationship with their representatives in the future," Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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