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Labour not listening democracy is dead

18 May 2004

Labour not listening democracy is dead

Auckland students will put on a united front Wednesday May 19, challenging Prime Minister Helen Clark and her party to deliver the universal student allowance she dismissed in Parliament.

Tired of being ignored, students will take action outside Clark’s electoral office in Sandringham Rd prompted by her recent statement in the house. Following the tabling of a petition signed by over 35,000 people, she said she had no intention of introducing a universal allowance despite claiming to a 1995 Labour conference, “My aim is to return to a universal student allowance.”

Labour’s lack of commitment to students and failure to address student issues has created uproar throughout the country and student leaders are encouraging students to take a stand.

“It’s a sad day when the Government continuously backs down on it’s promises to students and does little or nothing to ease their hardship, not to mention keep education affordable and accessible as they proclaimed proudly on their 1998 election pledge card,” says Albany Students’ Association President Nick Mayne.

Kate Sutton, the President of Auckland University Students’ Association agrees. She believes that the Government should shape up or ship out. “Students are the only section of society who are forced to borrow to live, they need a living allowance, something which the government has failed to deliver on we are here to tell the government enough is enough.”

Student debt has doubled under the Labour led Government, recently reaching $7 billion, says Elliot Roberts President of the Auckland Student Movement at AUT.

“Labour posted record surpluses and plunge large amounts of money into the super scheme whilst having student debt on the books as an asset. This is detrimental to the fabric of our nation. New Zealand is losing skilled graduates overseas because of debt, we would be better off investing this money in our country’s future and up skill our nation.”

“The Labour government has had enough time to address student issues they can expect to see much more action of this nature if the do not begin to deliver and take real steps to alleviate student hardship,” says John Young President of the Unitec Student Union.


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