Australian student President visits New Zealand
David Barrow, President of the National Union of Students (NUS) in Australia, is the special guest of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations this week, undertaking a speaking tour with student leaders, the tertiary sector and political parties.
“NZUSA has a longstanding relationship with our sister organisation NUS, and it is our pleasure to host the 2009 President, David Barrow, here in New Zealand for a week of information sharing and discussion on a variety of issues relating to tertiary education”, said Jordan King, Co-President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA). “David’s visit is also particularly timely given the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill, currently before the Education and Science Select Committee,” said King.
The Bill seeks to fundamentally alter the basis of student membership of students’ associations, undermining collective provision of student services and facilities, and severely jeopardising student representation within universities and polytechnics.
“The recent experience in Australia shows how damaging and costly to students, tertiary institutions and Government a Bill like this could be to New Zealand, and so we look forward to David sharing some of this knowledge and experience to enhance the debate on the Bill here”, said King. “Of particular concern is that the transition away from universal membership to the status quo cost the Australian Government around $170 million, with further unavoidable ongoing costs. Such a financial burden is not something the New Zealand Government, nor the tertiary sector, could manage,” concluded King.
David Barrow is in Wellington till Monday 23 November, 2009 and is available for media interviews. Please contact him through NZUSA.