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There comes a time in every reporters career when they he to shun the convention of impartiality and say what they think for the greater good. Ok, so I recently watched Good Night and Good Luck, but that has nothing to do with it. It is time, ladies and gentlemen, for me to don my black T-shirt and march around pumping my fist in the air. Enough is enough.
I am referring to the constitutional meddling of a certain Nick O’Kane, your esteemed representative on the Publications Committee and local right-wing nut-job. Many of the amendments he has put forward are not only lengthy and confusing, but show very little understanding of the very institutions he is almost single handedly attempting to change. While it can be appreciated that the amendments are an attempt to make VUWSA more accountable to students, a bit more thinking may have been required.
Not all the amendments are bad. Having the Exec start getting paid for their work in November instead of January will allow them to be better prepared for the beginning of the year, properly look after summer school students, and in many cases receive rewards for work that they would be otherwise be doing unpaid. Expanding the Treasurer position to that of a Vice-President might mean that budgets get completed on time, for once.
The attempted reform of the rep groups system may not be so successful, however. Someone who has been highly involved in a rep group for a number of years audibly giggled when I asked her about the amendments. What those outside rep groups often fail to realize, is that most of them don’t actually have that many members, certainly not the required 500 in the amendment. But they represent and cater for a wider group of students who choose not to opt out of those groups. Furthermore, the financial stipulations in the amendments have the very real potential to mess up relations between VUWSA and Ngai Tauira.
The Single Transferable Voting system that will be implemented seems unnecessary and confusing. If only six percent of students can be coaxed into ticking ten boxes, how are VUWSA going to get students to rank candidates that they know little about and care even less? Furthermore, yet another amendment promises to change the number of members of the Exec dependent on voter turnout. As one former and rather jaded returns officer told me, this could actually serve to further reduce the number of people voting.
So, by all means go to the IGM on Wednesday and vote. But listen to the justifications of speakers and pay attention to what’s happening. Raising your hand in support of certain motions can have an important effect on how VUWSA works in the future.
Meanwhile, the Exec has been far too busy recovering from Orientation to have held a meeting. However, I did get an insight into the mind of Education Vice President Miri Duffield last week, when I heard she is either so democracticly minded or unable to make a decision, that she held a vote on what colour the faculty rep hand book’s front cover should be. Once the decision was made, however, it was discovered the printer had in fact run out of the colour. Hurried emails were sent and a new colour was decided on.