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OUSA gutted the VSM Bill is being debated

Logan Edgar, OUSA President, and the student Executive of the Otago University Student’s Association, is today gutted by the news that the VSM aka Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill is now being debated in the Committee Stage in Parliament after Labours filibustering has now broken down.

After Heather Roy moved a motion to procedurally overturn the filibustering by Labour, the National Party supported the motion and this has opened up an opportunity for the Bill to be passed tonight or at worst (for OUSA) on August 17th.

“The Executive is disappointed that the Bill now has the chance to go through so late in the year. OUSA condemn the actions of Michael Woodhouse, Dunedin North National MP, after he repeatedly told NZUSA, and myself, that the Bill would not pass this year.” Says Edgar, “If the Bill passes this late in the year it will have severe repercussions on OUSA both operationally and logistically.”

“It’s not just about ideology here, passing the Bill this late will have disastrous practical effects on our organisation.” says Shonelle Eastwood, OUSA Welfare Officer.

Edgar says, ”Heather Roy knows that this is her last chance to create a legacy for herself as she will not be standing for parliament this election. This is a radical bill that has not had the support of submissions, and does not recognise the opportunity for students to take charge of their own associations to create a better system for how student’s associations are run.” He continues to say, “ We are disappointed we’ve been told one thing and then they’ve gone ahead and done another.”

“The National party made the promise to students that they would not change the status quo of students associations and their membership processes. By National overturning the filibuster they make a strong and direct signal to the nation that they have interest in the bill and therefore they intend on breaking their previous election promises before the 2011 election. How can anybody trust the National Party when they have this hidden agenda to break election promises? We agree that students association membership isn’t perfect at present, however this should be changed on students’ terms and not some old bat trying to forge a legacy! If John Key doesn’t want to campaign on the notion of empty promises and lies then why doesn’t he come out and confirm his intentions from the get go.”

The OUSA plans to protest the move when Prime Minister John Key visits Dunedin this week, and we plan to be heard!

ENDS

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