Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Student "Radicals" Embarrass

This week's column - by Philip Rennie, Young Nationals

Last week saw the tired spectacle of student 'radicals' occupying university registry buildings, demanding that other people pay their fees. Student occupations are nothing new, but as a student politician myself this year I felt very angry and embarassed by the behaviour of my colleagues.

Even if I agreed with their list of demands (and I agree with some) then this is still not the way to behave. Most universities hardly pay any attention to students as it is; vandalism, trespass and violence are hardly going to put us into their good books.

Some of the demands were ridiculous - they included:

*Wiping $3.4 billion of existing student debt *Totally free education *Universal allowances *A pony *No closures of departments, no matter how unpopular and uneconomic.

Wiping all existing debt is a totally impractical and inequitable idea. Not even the Alliance supports this policy. As for free education, hardly any students or the public support this policy. Last year the only political party promising free education was the Alliance, which got under 8% of the vote. 92% of people voted for parties endorsing some form of user-pays. As usual, the Left's answer to everything is take more of other people's money.

One serious issue raised was the golden handshake for former Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Michael Irving. Irving receives a $390,000 payout at the same time as departments are closing and budgets are cut. While this is shocking, the law is the law. The contract is signed, the university can't go back on it or they'll get sued for even more.

The occupations also do serious damage to student's reputation with the public. The protesters don't come across as heroic crusaders for freedom; they look more like juvenile larrikins having a bit of fun. What's more embarassing is when the leaders proclaim that they have the support of all students

The timing of these occupations were totally ironic. Last week Vic News published a major survey of students at Victoria University which found significant levels of discontent with VUWSA, the students association. 27% of students said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with VUWSA, (including 42% of commerce students), with many saying they wanted VUWSA to be "less politically biased".

Also in this survey 53% rated social life on campus as worse than at any other campus, and wanted VUWSA to organise "more social events". Yet because of the VUWSA people involved in the occupation, we struggled to run a movie showing in the Memorial theatre.

I don't feel comfortable slagging off my friends when I know the effort they put into serving students, and their strongly-held beliefs. But it's about time the silent majority of students, who are quietly getting on with life, stood up and disassociated themselves from these stunts.

Feedback to jrennie@the.net.nz

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

KiwiBailed: KiwiBuild Head Officially Resigns

The head of Kiwibuild, Stephen Barclay has officially resigned from the role. In a statement issued on his behalf, it was announced that he would step down from today [Friday].

Housing Minister Phil Twyford's office said he would not be commenting on Mr Barclay's resignation as it was an employment matter. Last month, Mr Twyford confirmed that Mr Barclay had not been at work for a number of weeks. More>>

 

Welfare Stats: Rise In Hardship Numbers Shows Income Inadequacy

The latest Ministry of Social Development quarterly report show that a record number of people have received hardship assistance from work and income, with an additional 40,000 hardship payments made between September and December 2018, compared to the previous quarter of the same year... More>>

ALSO:

DHBs "Prepared": Junior Doctors Strike Again

The needs of acute patients will be met during tomorrow's junior doctor strike, a DHB spokesperson says... Almost 3000 junior doctors are expected to walk off the job, which will affect all DHBs apart from West Coast District Health Board. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On MBIE’s Social Media Scam

Given the ambit of MBIE’s work, almost any form of social activity could qualify as being part of MBIE’s brief, so the privacy threats posed by this training programme are extensive. The current oversight safeguards seem threadbare to non-existent. More>>

ALSO:

JusTrade: New Campaign For A 21th Century Trade Agenda

‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’ More>>

Earlier:

Gordon Campbell: Thompson + Clark Are The Tip Of The Iceberg

How can we tell where and how any lines are being drawn? Oversight is not exactly robust. If it were, Thompson + Clark would have been out of contention for state security work ten years ago. More>>

Trainers: Taratahi Institute of Agriculture In Interim Liquidation

Taratahi employ 250 staff and this year has provided education to over 2500 students. Taratahi owns and manages 8 farms throughout the country. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Report: Complaints About Deputy Commissioner Wallace Haumaha

The Authority has found that DC Haumaha acted improperly by approaching staff and others to provide information to support him to refute the allegations about his 2016 conduct, or solicited other staff to do so on his behalf... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels