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Students won’t be listened to, says English

Media Release Update – 25 May 2012 – For Immediate Use

Students won’t be listened to, says English

Auckland University Students’ Association President Arena Williams has condemned Finance Minister Bill English’ response to student action to highlight cuts to tertiary education in the budget.

In response to a question about the 800 strong student protest at the University of Auckland, English commented that “"there's a protest movement out there but who's really listening to them?”

“Yesterday, students took to the streets because they don’t feel that their voice is being heard,” said Williams. “The Minister has now explicitly said that he doesn’t value students’ views.”

The Auckland University Students’ Association promoted the Blockade the Budget protest to allow University of Auckland students to engage with the decisions that affect them. The protest was conducted peacefully and safely.

“Protest is a legitimate tool of democratic engagement. The students who gathered yesterday were worried about the 621,000 New Zealanders who have a student loan and will be affected by the changes, and the 5000 students who won’t have access to student allowances next year and might not be able to finish their degrees. This wasn’t a group of radical students banging the drum about left wing causes – it was a massive group of young people concerned about our future.”

“We know young voters didn’t turn out at the last election. A big part of that is a feeling of disengagement with the system. With that in mind, it’s absolutely shameful for the government to tell us that we aren’t being listened to.”


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