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Students support Treaty and slam Brash

Fleur Fitzsimons
NZUSA Co-President

Students support Treaty and slam Brash

Student leaders today re-affirmed their commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi and expressed their anger that Don Brash is using Treaty-bashing to try and attract support for his party.

"The Treaty of Waitangi is our founding document, and student organisations such as the New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA) work on a partnership model," said Fleur Fitzsimons, Co-President of NZUSA. "We recognise that Maori do have special status as tangata whenua."

"However, we also recognise that Maori face educational disadvantage and so support funding for initiatives to support the recruitment and retention of Maori students in tertiary education."

"Don Brash is trying to make political mileage out of claiming that Maori have unfair advantages," said Fitzsimons. "But student organisations see everyday that the wants and needs of Maori and Pakeha students are not always the same."

Student association work on the student loan scheme shows that treating everyone the same does not always lead to fair outcomes. "We all know that the one size fits all student loan scheme sees women take nearly twice as long as men to repay their loans, and that Maori and Pasifika borrowers are also disadvantaged."

Fitzsimons suggests that Don Brash should devote his energy to thinking of policy ideas which help reduce inequities rather than increase them, such as fairer funding for tertiary education.


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