National reneges on assurance that ACT’s anti-student Bill would not pass this year
National MPs are tonight setting aside parliamentary process to allow ACT’s destructive and unwanted Bill that will devastate student representation and services to proceed. If passed, the Bill is poised to throw the tertiary sector into disarray.
“National MPs have told us as recently as two weeks ago that this Bill would not pass before the election,” said David Do, Co-President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA). “We have been working hard to try and achieve a fair alternative to the Bill which addresses their concerns around the current system while ensuring students’ associations can survive,” added Do.
With only eight weeks to go before students go into exams, students’ associations will not be able to adequately consult with their students and make preparation for a possible 100% loss of income in 2012. Tertiary institutions will likewise have no time to prepare for the massive transition needed to ensure important services and facilities will be able to continue beyond this year.
“We have been negotiating very hard and in good faith with National and ACT to get better solutions on the table. The actions of the Government this afternoon fly in the face of these discussions, reneging on commitments we’ve had from National Government MPs that the Bill would not pass,” said Co-President Max Hardy.
“National did not campaign on a platform to fundamentally alter students’ associations and the student experience at our universities and polytechnics. In fact, they are breaking a promise they made at the 2008 election when they committed to the current law, which was passed when National was in government in the late 1990s,” said Do.
“Students’ associations will be continuing to seek a sensible solution and are imploring the Government to work with us on achieving this. We call on the Government to see sense, to prioritise education over politics, and to come back to the table urgently. National does not have to keep rewarding the discredited Act Party months out from the election,” concluded Hardy.