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Don't Rob Your Student Neighbour!"

"Alliance and Labour- Don't Rob Your Student Neighbour!"

by Joe Carolan, SWO Waikato. http://roads.to/swo

Students angry at government lies and cutbacks reclaimed the streets of Hamilton last night, occupying the plaza in front of the city's central WINZ office with a cardboard "student village". The village had its own soup kitchen, lounge and even a dance zone- the "Spice Trancellors", where a funky picket line received hundreds of honks of support from passing Friday night traffic. Over 900 people signed the village's petition for EUB reinstatement, Universal Student Living Allowances and free education, many of them sharing the villagers anger at the government's doublecross.

The 20 hour overnight occupation was to bring attention to the Labour/Alliance MPs denial of emergency unemployment benifit (EUB) to students this summer, which will force many to rely on foodbanks, charity, parental support or loans if they cannot find work. Under the current scheme, if you cannot prove absolute parental poverty and are under the age of 25, you can expect no assistance from the government in paying for accomodation, food and other basic necessities.

"If you're over 18, everyone should have the right to unemployment benifit if they can't find work. This government knows that there are not enough work in Hamilton as it is, before 16,000 students come on the jobs market this summer. Student Jobs Search admits that it could not find work for over half of the people registered with them last summer. Without EUB, students who can't find low paid jobs will not be able to keep a roof over their head or buy food. NZUSA president Sam Huggard has called for a national week of action on this issue- we're ready to join other campuses nationwide and fight tooth and nail against this betrayal"...Joe Carolan SWO

Green MP Sue Bradford had put a bill in parliament last Wednesday to reinstate the EUB, but in a move that rang alarm bells to free education activists, it was defeated by an unholy coalition of National, Act, Labour and Alliance. This was in direct contravention of Alliance party policy, with many local members seeing this as a betrayal of the grassroots by the parliamentary wing. Hamilton Alliance councillor Dave McPherson joined the protest, promising that MPs would be held accountable for their actions, and that the Waikato Alliance branch would continue to support the free education movement.

The EUB debacle has furthered the erosion of student hopes in the new government, and shows the need for an alternative grassroots strategy to force change. Fightback, the campaign for Free Education, argues for a nationwide wave of campus occupations, backed by staff industrial action, to achieve tem major reforms to the NZ tertiary education system. They are-


1. Free Education for all by taxing the rich (top 5%)
2. Universal Student Living Allowances- an end to WINZ loans
3. Scrapping of Student Debt
4. Reinstatement of emergency unemployment benifit
5. An end to the Privatisation agenda on campus
6. Democratic control of campus by staff and student union, not CEOs
7. Adequate government funding to tertiary providers- the cap is a cop out
8. Adequate research funding not controlled by corporations
9. The removal of non financial barriers to women, Maori, Pacific Islanders, International, gay and mature students
10. No Police on campus- would you have them in your workplace?

For further info- contact Fightback at 025 6048955 email fightbackwaikato@hotmail.com http://www.egroups.com/group/FightbackWaikato


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