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OUSA creaming John Key and our Presidents plea

OUSA creaming John Key and our Presidents plea

The Otago University Students’ Association is proud to announce VSM PROTEST MKIII! Logan Edgar, OUSA President, is asking the public and government to consider that the National Party’s position is outdated and unrealistic; students’ associations provide services at a much cheaper cost than universities can provide.

This Wednesday 17th August, from 11.30am to 1.30pm (snow or shine), Logan will be dressing up as John Key, locking himself in medieval stocks and allowing students to take pot shots at him with cream pies! He’s ready to get messy and let students take out their frustrations with the government as they continue to ignore the student voice.

Edgar and the OUSA Executive believe modern day students’ associations are crucial to provide the fundamental support services for students, adequate representation, and to manage and protect the assets that students for over 120 years have worked and invested in. These assets help keep costs low and help students get the most out of their university experience!

Logan is calling for the government and the politicians who can swing the vote to, “Give students the chance to take charge of their services, and allow them less restrictive opt out policies. Don’t just shut students out and make the choice for them. Listen to the submissions you asked for, and let students’ associations and the students that passionately guide them chose how to support their members.” He continues to say “Otago University itself opposed the Bill, citing that it cannot provide the services at the low cost to students that OUSA can.”

OUSA urges the government to consider a realistic opt out provision, rather than the drastic step into voluntary student membership. Associations that have become voluntary (of which only the Auckland University Students’ Association remains voluntary) have seen a reduction in the quality of services they can provide, even when universities step in to fund them. Auckland University is a pertinent example of the ‘service funding catch-22’; their student association levy was reduced when they became voluntary, but the University Service Levy increased from $75 to $165 the next year, and currently sits at $540 for a full time student. Students’ associations in England were crippled when they became voluntary, and without the student numbers behind them the fees University charged for papers increased by up to 110%.

Logan asks the government, “When University fees and welfare levies are usually added to a student loan anyway, would you not want an association that can help keep those costs low? Not only to provide welfare services cheaper, but also to help keep University fees low too. We see it as a win-win, reducing the pressure on student debt, what the government has to cover and what students in the end must pay back.”

Students’ associations have already faced the voluntary issue before, and when Tony Steel’s Bill allowed students to choose if their association was to be voluntary, OUSA held a referendum in 1999 to find out what they wanted. The result was that 78.5% out of the 59% of student’s that voted favoured Compulsory membership, with only 20% favouring Voluntary membership (1.5% of votes were invalid). The current legislation allows students the right to choose how their Associations are run, Logan Edgar asks “Who is best to decide this? A political party with less than 5% of the votes, or student’s themselves?”

Logan’s protest will go ahead snow or shine, and students will also have the chance to come down and have a chat, a sausage and throw a good old cream pie in the face of the Presidential Prime Minister!


Important Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill submissions:
Public Submission on the by Otago University:
http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/5C6FCBA9-8AD6-4E67-A595-614F86FD0B89/141097/49SCES_EVI_00DBHOH_BILL9320_1_A40756_UniversityofO.pdf

Public submission by former Dunedin City Mayor, Peter Chin:
http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/D4D58A07-0530-4678-9AD9-CD94D7FA2A4B/141583/49SCES_EVI_00DBHOH_BILL9320_1_A42632_PeterChinMayo.pdf

Public Submission by the Human Rights Comminssion:
http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/CDC55BEE-BDDA-4061-A76A-BF5D8C7CC9FD/141195/49SCES_EVI_00DBHOH_BILL9320_1_A41166_HumanRightsCo.pdf

ENDS

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