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MP Welcomes Students' Association Protest

MP Welcomes Students' Association Protest

ACT Tertiary Education Spokesman Heather Roy today met with protesters from the New Zealand Union of Students Associations (NZUSA) against her Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill.

"NZUSA claimS to represent the views of 180,000 students yet only 20 of those students turned up to protest. Clearly NZUSA and students' associations in general, do not have a mandate to speak on behalf of all students," Mrs Roy said.

"Students' associations are notorious for being controlled by a minority of political activists who do not represent the views of their members; today's protest was another example of this.

"Voluntary Student Membership is about freedom of association; no student should be forced to join a students' association against their will. My Bill will give students the same freedoms that every other section of society enjoys as of right."

Heather invited representatives of NZUSA and the protesters to discuss their concerns with her in person.

"My discussion with the student representatives was civil and we had some common ground. We agreed fraud and theft within student associations was at an unacceptable level and needed to be eliminated," Mrs Roy said.
Ms Roy said this was not a good time for NZUSA to be protesting after Palmerston North Polytechnic Students' Association, AS @ U, last week announced they were withdrawing from NZUSA.

"NZUSA has bigger issues on its hands; they need to make the case to students' associations and their members about providing services students want and need. The Voluntary Membership Bill presents students' associations with an opportunity to improve services, eliminate fraud and become relevant to their students. Instead they choose to waste this opportunity by organising protests and publicity stunts. This is another example of why student membership should be voluntary," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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