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Students send message to Government

Students send message to Government

Students have today urged the Government to listen to them and the public on the issue of student services and representation.

At events around the country, local students and members of the public wore gags to represent the silencing of students if the Act Party’s Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill is passed, and to show the government is still not listening to the majority of the public’s voices on this issue. Banners were also unfurled and displayed, signed by students and supporters from several campuses across the country.

“Students protested today because they are angry and disappointed that the Government continues to support a Bill which will silence students’ voices, take away students’ choices, gut their services and representation, and threaten their quality of education,” says NZUSA co-President David Do.

“National said it wanted to listen to students and the public when they supported the Bill going to Select Committee The public have spoken out, and the Government should heed their calls,” says Do.

An independent UMR public opinion poll released yesterday shows that 77% of respondents felt that students should decide the structure of membership of their associations, compared with just 17% that believed it was the Government’s decision, and 6% who were unsure.

This follows an overwhelming response at the Education and Science Select Committee where 98% of the 4800 submissions were against the Bill and in support of the status quo.

“Students are best placed to make their own decisions about the membership of their local students’ associations, and this public poll shows there is no appetite for Government involvement in such processes,” says NZUSA co-President Pene Delaney

Following the event, students and student representatives also met with MP Heather Roy to voice their concerns regarding the Bill’s impacts.

“We look forward to the Government seriously considering the concerns raised by students today. With students, the public, and tertiary institutions opposing the Bill and warning of its’ negative consequences, the Government should drop it’s support for such an unpopular and unworkable Bill,” concludes Delaney.

A link to photos from the Wellington event is here:

NZUSA is the national representative body for tertiary students and has been advocating on student issues since 1929.


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