Time to find a fairer alternative to Act’s VSM Bill
Student leaders are echoing calls for fairer alternatives to ensure students continue to get the best possible services, representation and experience at university and polytechnic campuses.
“Heather Roy’s voluntary student membership bill is unworkable, unreasonable, and unsupported by students, the tertiary sector, and the wider community. We endorse Labour’s call for discussions to create a reasonable, acceptable, durable policy in this area,” says NZUSA co-President Max Hardy.
Students and their representatives have always been open to improving and enhancing current provisions to ensure strong student services, independent representation, and better choices for students. To this end, many suggestions were made during the Select Committee process on how to modify the law.
“The current law was a compromise made in the late 1990s, passed under a National Government, and has worked well up to now. Instead of passing a bad Bill, we have the opportunity to ensure these suggestions are not ignored. We can still produce a beneficial result from a parliamentary process that has taken almost two years so far,” says Hardy.
“Students’ associations do very good work – right now they are assisting students during the exam period, and in Canterbury they are helping students out with their welfare and education needs during a very difficult time. Students don’t deserve to have their services and representation wrecked in the name of pure ideology,” says NZUSA co-President David Do.
“The Bill is not supported by students or the public. Almost 5000 submissions were made on the Bill last year and 98% were opposed, and an independent public opinion poll in November last year revealed 77% of respondents felt that students should decide the structure of membership of their associations, compared with just 17% that believed it should be the Government’s decision,” says Do.
“We are committed to delivering the best possible services, representation, and voice for students, and we want to work with our elected representatives in Parliament on the best way to make that happen,” concludes Do.
NZUSA is the national representative body for tertiary students and has been advocating on student issues since 1929.