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March 5, 2007 | by  | in News |
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Student Accommodation Crisis Strikes Wellington

Wellington is experiencing an accommodation crisis, with high rent prices and a lack of accommodation contributing to the problem. Two weeks ago, 80 un-accommodated Victoria students approached the University in need of housing. By last Wednesday, this number had dropped to 25.

In a statement to Salient, the University claimed that it is common for students to have difficulty finding accommodation this year, as “…it appears that supply has decreased so far this year in the private market and that prices have increased”.

At a recent University Council meeting, Victoria’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, David Mackay, described the situation as “something of a crisis”. He cited high rent and a lack of flats and hostel rooms available for students as the main causes of the crisis.

Mackay told Salient: “I understand we are not the only University centre facing this problem and it comes about for a combination of reasons, which have compounded to create the current situation.”

Mackay says the rising prices of land warrants a review of student allowances, “particularly the accommodation benefit, since it is extremely difficult to absorb increases on the scale we have had”.

VUWSA President, Geoff Hayward, proclaims he is heartened by Mackay’s comments, and believes VUWSA and the University can work together to solve the issue.

“Companies can raise the rents however much they’d like, but there’s no adequate increase in funding for students so they can afford to live here,” says Hayward.

“I think it’s only highlighting the problems of government funding for students, and they must address it immediately – by instituting a universal student allowance and increasing the level of payments for students so that they can actually live and study in Wellington.”

Presently, the University Accommodation Service has an arrangement with Nomads Hostel, to place students in temporary accommodation until a permanent variety becomes available.

Victoria now accommodates more than 2,300 students, more than twice the number of 10 years ago.

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About the Author ()

With her take-no-prisoners, kick-ass attitude, former News Editor Laura McQuillan adequately makes up for her lack of stature. Roaming the corridors (and underground tunnels) of the University by day, and hunting vampires and Nazi war criminals by night, McQuillan will stop at nothing to bring you the freshest news.

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