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NZUSA talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk

NZUSA talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk says Alliance Party

Alliance Party Media Release - For Immediate Release - Friday, October 31, 2008

Alliance Co-leader, Andrew McKenzie said he was disappointed that the New Zealand Union of Students Associations didn't walk the walk when it came to the promotion of those political parties which supported its ideals.

"While NZUSA touts its commitment to "fighting for a universal, free, publicly funded and high quality tertiary education system at every level" and that public tertiary education "…must be fully funded by the government through taxation revenue to ensure it is barrier free…" it studiously does not provide support to those parties such as the Alliance, which has strongly supported those principles since its formation in 1992," says Mr McKenzie.

The Alliance as part of the 1999 - 2002 Alliance-Labour Government had been responsible for a Parliamentary Select Committee which examined student debt and tertiary funding. The outcome from that committee was that there were no fee increases for students for three years.

The Alliance was the only party that was prepared to stand up at a recent NZUSA organised forum in Dunedin and support free and open education, the immediate implementation of universal student allowances at the rate of the Unemployment Benefit and the elimination and the immediate write off of student loans. All of which is NZUSA policy," he added.

Despite the fact that the Alliance had worked tirelessly in student's interests, it was not mentioned in NZUSA voting guides and students were encouraged only to give their support to the existing parliamentary parties in the upcoming elections.

Mr McKenzie commented that a number of student leaders appeared to support the principle of voting for the lesser of two evils in this case, Labour and the Greens.

However, voting for the lesser evil, Mr McKenzie said, was still voting for evil.

"Neither Labour nor the Greens fully supported the concept of free education, with the Greens supporting only a partial write-off of student debt and a bonding system and Labour supporting a system of fair education, not free education."

People need to vote with their conscience. If students truly believe in the ideals of free education then they should support the Alliance, a party that is fully committed to it, Mr McKenzie believes.


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