Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Students Call For Half-price Fares To Be Extended And Tertiary Students To Be Included In Community Connect

 

The presidents of six students’ associations across the country have sent an open letter to the Minister of Transport David Parker calling on him to extend half-price fares and include students in the Community Connect scheme.

Students have not been considered in the development of Community Connect, student Presidents write in the open letter. Community Connect only captures half of students in the under-25 discount. And of students 25 and over, only approximately 8% have a Community Services Card.

This leaves a significant gap. Students over the age of 25 without a Community Service Card will miss out on half-price fares. Students are calling on half-price fares to be extended for everyone while the Minister includes students in Community Connect so no student misses out on half-price fares.

The open letter says accessing the half-price fares through Community Service Cards is an inadequate way to capture students. Despite most students being eligible for a Community Service Card, only students who receive an allowance automatically get one. The number of students who have a Community Service Card is approximately the same as the number of students that receive student allowance (12%).

“Students are unlikely to know that they qualify for a Community Service Card, and getting one is an invasive and complicated process.” Says Hana Pilkinton-Ching, Campaigns Officer for the Victoria University of Wellington Students Association.

“The application form is sixteen pages long and requires at least two forms of government issued ID, not recognising student ID. This and many other aspects of the application process present a significant barrier for students. It is no wonder that so few students have a Community Services Card.” Says Pilkinton-Ching.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

“It has been disappointing to see every opportunity to support students over the last five years passed up in the name of political expediency, from housing to income support to tertiary funding and now to transport.” Says Elliot Wier, Otago regional councillor and Otago University postgraduate student.

“The community connect program is a big win for climate action, transport equity, and encouraging mode shift for those who could benefit from it most. It is also clearly designed to cover many students, but there's simply no reason not to extend it to explicitly cover all students.”

“All students should be eligible whether they are full-time or part-time, whether they are 19 years old or 31 years old, and whether they are willing to put themselves through the painful process of getting a community services card or not. I have gone through that process myself, and I wouldn't want to do it again (and again every year) to get myself half-price buses, nor should any student have to.” Says Wier.

Universities New Zealand have also thrown their support behind free public transport for students as part of the Free Fares campaign. Chris Whelan, CE of UNZ says “We are seeing a steady worsening in student wellbeing and mental health and, to a significant extent, this arises from increased financial pressures on students.”

“We also know that the majority of our students are concerned about climate change and their carbon footprint. An increasing proportion need to work while studying and they are looking for sustainable ways to get to and from workplaces and their places of learning.”

“Finally, we know that our students are learning the behaviours that will remain with them over the rest of their lives. The more we can encourage them into sustainable modes of transportation the better.” Says Whelan.

Ellen Dixon, President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations, says “It is essential for the planet and the future of tertiary education in this nation that the Minister listens to the requests of student leaders from across the motu, and builds an equitable transport system for all."

Read the open letter here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vT6ulrWPU5M9WGhfkjuPoRGZDNLFWGxD4o4EUWEH2Jsje-m_1OOc6KuwSeCYWrHoZgNZy0UDol0ByFb/pub

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Gordon Campbell: On The Newshub/Smokefree Twin Fiascos


Here’s a tale of two sunset industries. One has a track record of quality investigative reporting, and sound reportage of the 24/7 news cycle. The other sunset industry peddles a deadly substance that kills and injures tens of thousands of New Zealanders every year, while imposing significant annual costs on the public health system.

Which industry is this government rushing to assist..?
More


 
 


ACT: New Zealand Dodges Dopey Experiment In Prohibition

“Labour’s attempted crackdown on smokers would have delivered criminal groups a near-monopoly over the cigarette trade,” says ACT Health spokesman Todd Stephenson... More


Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More


Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More


Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.