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Staunch Alliance Gathering A Success

Media Statement

For Immediate Release

19th July 2001

Staunch Alliance Gathering A Success

Staunch Alliance, the youth and activist wing of the Alliance, held its second National Gathering over the weekend (14th and 15th July) at the Christchurch College of Education.

"Staunch, with it's growing membership base, will play an active role both inside and outside of the Alliance, with the goal of providing a strong platform upon which the progressive youth voice can be heard.....by everyone!" said Sean Gourley, National Co-Spokesperson.

Discussions covered a wide range of topics including free trade, suicide, health, education and tax. There were also elections held for the positions of National Spokespersons (2) and the Staunch Alliance representative on the Alliance National Council. Rebecca Matthews was elected National Council rep, while Sean Gourley and Julie Fairey were elected National Spokespeople. (see contact details below).

Key policy decisions made were:

a.. to oppose bonding - proper work force planning and an incentive scheme, along with a publicly funded and run tertiary education system, will meet the same objectives more equitably

b.. to support the wiping of the Student Loan Scheme - recognising that this is the most practical solution to the massive student debt problem - we will also be supporting and campaigning for the adoption of appropriate intermediate steps, such as wiping all interest (including retrospective interest)

c.. to support the establishment of Universal Student Allowances - students are currently the only part of society who have to borrow to live and we seen this as fundamentally unjust

d.. to oppose free trade and trade liberalisation moves, including the Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement, and support moves toward fair trade initiatives

"The Gathering has identified a number of key issues to work on, as well as making several important policy and structural decisions.

The weekend was a great chance for activists from Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury to meet, plan and discuss, with an aim to building for the future" said Julie Fairey, National Co-Spokesperson.

Contact details:

National Spokespeople:

Julie Fairey

(09) 845 5242

Email: spannergrrl@hotmail.com (note 2 r's no i)

Sean Gourley

(03) 981 0365

Email: sean@staunch.org.nz

Alliance National Council Representative

Rebecca Matthews

(04) 971 5023

025 231 0111

Email: staunchrebecca@hotmail.com

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