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April 3, 2006 | by  | in News |
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Let them eat cake! Vic Labour gatecrash the party

There may have been cake, but Vic Labour’s celebration of the wiping of interest on student loans last week almost got the club banned from the Quad.

Five Labour MPs, including Minister for Tertiary Education Michael Cullen and Central Wellington MP Marion Hobbs, paid a visit last Wednesday to speak about the Student Loans Act Amendment and to hand out cake. (See ‘Students Disinterested’ for more details.)

However, concerns were raised after Vic Labour neglected to book the Quad for the event, which also coincided with a weekly VUWSA meeting. The club was threatened with banishment from the Quad for a year by the Union if a similar mishap were to occur in the future.

VUWSA President Nick Kelly and Activities Officer Joel Cosgrove felt the event undermined the SRC held at the same time. Cosgrove says he felt that Vic Labour were trying “to turn it into a Labour political rally and that is totally unacceptable.”

Vic Labour President Geoff Hayward says it was disappointing that the two events were so close together, but the club had been attempting to educate students about the policy rather than overshadow the SRC.

Hayward also denies the event was staged as a media opportunity, saying “nobody likes a party where only one person turns up.”

Cullen spoke to a crowd of around fifty students about the wiping of interest on student loans, saying the policy was important because “we want you to study, we know there are costs, but we want to minimise those costs and we want you to stay in New Zealand.” However, in response to questions from the crowd he says that a universal student allowance could not be delivered because of other costs, such as New Zealand’s Kyoto Protocol responsibilities.

He then joined Hobbes and Minister for Economic Development Trevor Mallard in handing out cake to students. Salient can report it was chocolate flavoured and tasted reasonably good.

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About the Author ()

Nicola Kean: feature writer, philanthropist, womanly woman. Nicola is the smallest member of the Salient team, but eats really large pieces of lasagne. Favourites include 80s music, the scent of fresh pine needles and long walks on the beach.

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