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Industrial strength hypocrisy from TEU

Industrial strength hypocrisy from TEU

Voluntary union membership is good enough for tertiary staff but too good for tertiary students according to the Tertiary Education Union.

Yesterday TEU president Tom Ryan defended compulsory student union membership, oblivious to the fact that the union he heads exists with a system of voluntary membership, Student Choice spokesperson Lauren Brazier said.

Mr Ryan should look at the TEU website – it has a whole page dedicated to attempting to persuade tertiary staff to join his voluntary union. If tertiary staff can enjoy voluntary membership why should tertiary students be denied the right to freedom of association?

Ryan tried to defend compulsory membership on the grounds that it provided ‘services’. But TEU’s provision of services to members under voluntary membership showed that his arguments were unfounded.

Lauren Brazier said TEU has an outdated view of voluntary student union membership. TEU think the main role of student unions is to lobby the government for more money for tertiary education. TEU don’t understand that student unions’ main role is to represent the interests of their members and they can only do this legitimately if individual students have a choice about joining the group.

TEU’s views on membership have been shaped by a string of former student politicians who have worked for the union over many years. It’s time Mr Ryan got out and talked to actual students instead of taking his cue from former student politicians on his staff.

Compulsory student union membership costs New Zealand tertiary students $14 million dollars a year. Most of the money taken under compulsory membership goes to paying wages for student association employees, and subsidising orientation parties, clubs and student media. Student associations do not provide non-academic services such as health and counselling, crèches, bars and recreation centres; students fund these services through separate levies paid directly to institutions.

Student Choice supports Roger Douglas’ bill to make membership of student unions voluntary.


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