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April 24, 2009 | by  | in Online Only |
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VUWSA: ANZAC wreath would support war

In a decision made fewer than three days out from the day itself, Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) decided to reject an invitation from the Wellington City Council to lay a wreath at this year’s ANZAC Day commemorations.

The decision was borne out of a desire not to “arbitrarily” observe events for which there was no formal VUWSA policy. VUWSA does not currently have a formal position on officially commemorating ANZAC Day, and this position was considered the “overarching” reason for the rejection.

VUWSA President Jasmine Freemantle said there was no “official mandate from students” to recognise ANZAC Day. She also said there would be a Special Representative Council meeting to seek this mandate from students later this year.

In 2007 exec member Heleyni Pratley laid a communist wreath on ANZAC Day, reading “To the dead and the dying in the struggle against imperialism, victory shall be theirs”. The same wording featured in the wreath laid by 1973 VUWSA President Peter Wilson in protest against the Vietnam War and again 30 years later by 2006 President Nick Kelly.

The lack of policy was not the only reason a number of Exec members were vehemently against the idea of laying a wreath. Exec members said that to lay a wreath would be to condone war.

Vice President of Education, Freya Eng, expressed concern for the association’s reputation.

“I don’t want to look like we support war at all,” she said.

VUWSA’s Vice President of Administration Alexander Neilson claimed a wreath would be unnecessary.

“There’s no point in placing a wreath if it has nothing to do with students,” Neilson said during the meeting.

Neilson went on to explain that Victoria had already “done its part” to commemorate the fallen with the construction of the Memorial Theatre. He went on to suggest the possibility of laying a “small” wreath in the theatre (which is currently under construction) as recognition of students who served in the military. Also possibly holding a few moments of silence before the next meeting, “and leav[ing] it at that.”

Vic has a long and storied history of involvement in military service. Male students were required to undergo territorial training during World War II, following the completion of exams. 290 students are known to have lost their lives during the conflict.

In 1942, the Victoria University of Wellington Students Association actively engaged in raising money for the Patriotic Fund, which financed all the work done by the YMCA and the Church Army during the World War II. The association also invested in government stock.

Salient‘s print edition will have further coverage on Monday.

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Comments (229)

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  1. Harleif says:

    This is an extremely distasteful course of action, which disrespects everyone who gave their lives in the struggles that have been fought by the military of New Zealand.

    Confusing ANZAC Day with a pro-war movement is ignorant and retarded. ANZAC Day is about remembering what has happened and learning from it and acknowledging the fact that people have suffered greatly, so we don’t have to.

  2. NZ_Patriot says:

    If it wasn’t for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, VUWSA wouldn’t even have the freedom to decide whether they “condone” war or not. ANZAC soldiers were just normal blokes fighting to protect VUWSA’s right to be communists, Paul Henry’s right to mock female facial hair, and my right to be a New Zealand’s biggest patriot. Without these brave souls those VUWSA fuckwits wouldn’t even be able to perform an “official mandate” (Wow, look at me daddy! I’m a big kid talking about official mandates at school!) and perform all their other bureaucratic duties.

    ANZAC day isn’t about condoning war, and celebrating victory over our imperial adversaries (HAHA FUCK YOU GERMANY! WE BEAT YOU CUNTS TWICE!) it’s about remembering Trent The Farmer from Wainui who gave up a livestock of over 200 cattle as well as a wife and two lovely daughters when he died on the beaches of Gallipoli, or Bazza the sparky from Island bay who left behind a garage full of tools and a family of 6 kids (2 Girls, 4 boys) to go fight against Rommel in the deserts of Egypt, only to be blown to shreds by a Panzer IV whilst clearing land mines, ALL SO THAT CUNTS LIKE FREYA ENG CAN HAVE THE FREEDOM TO CHOSE WHETHER OR NOT THEY “Condone” WAR.

    Now excuse me while I recite the national anthem in front of my New Zealand flag, whilst proudly displaying the ANZAC poppy I purchased yesterday from the lovely old man on Willis St.

  3. Freya Eng says:

    NZ_Patriot and Harleif,

    By no means did I mean to imply in that Executive meeting that I do not respect the fallen from every conflict New Zealand has been involved in. My own relatives were involved. I wholeheartedly respect and am grateful for the service men and women who have served for our freedom.

    However, it is irrelevant what my views on war, or any other of the Executive members’ positions are, because in the end that did not influence our executive decision over it. What the issue here was about was student representation, and because we have no directives from students on the issue of ANZAC day, we decided not to act now, but bring it to an SRC in the future, in order that the voices and opinions of all students be heard. I respect that you support ANZAC Day as a day of remembrance and patriotism, and I feel similarly, but some students may not feel the same way, and their view needs to be heard also.

    Thank you for your views though, I will take them on board.

    Freya Eng

  4. student_4_ANZAC says:

    how you guys thought you could do this without it turning into a PR nightmare is beyond me.

    you guys knew this was coming up, you knew that vuwsa has had a history of marking anzac day, and you could have introduced it at one of the previous srcs

    or did you guys just forget?

    either way, this shows little more than an astonishing lack of foresight from the exec. you’ve been busy with other things i’m sure and there has been a lot of good work done, but you dropped the ball big time on this one.

    it’s a public relations blunder. do better next time.

  5. In response to Freya Eng,

    “I respect that you support ANZAC Day as a day of remembrance and patriotism, and I feel similarly, but some students may not feel the same way, and their view needs to be heard also.”-

    Fuck everyone else’s view, if they are unable to determine that ANZAC day is about remembering the people who died in war, rather than “condoning war” then they are retarded and their voice should not be heard. If VUWSA cannot show respect for these people, who had the balls to step up when their country asked them to, then you sure as hell are disgusting and despicable and I am ashamed to say that these people represent me. Frankly I am pissed that this shitty organisation would use my money (compulsory fees) to pay for free massages during study week, but not lay a wreath to remember the fallen men and women of ANZAC.

    “There’s no point in placing a wreath if it has nothing to do with students,” – Alexander Neilson

    This guy is a knob and absolute shit head it has everything to do with the students these guys enabled us to be students they fought for our freedom they stepped up, something you will never ever do in your life, students dies during the conflicts how dare you say it has nothing to do with the students.

    You ADMIN is a Joke WE all know you are communist’s wanting to be politicians, I have no problem with that, but when you disrespect the ANZAC s you can fuck off to the communist paradise of Cuba, New Zealand would be better off with out you.

  6. Gibbon says:

    Question:
    Does VUWSA believe that students should be forced to be a member of its association? If so, how can VUWSA continue to accept student’s money each year, when, to quote Freya Eng, “some students may not feel the same way”?

  7. Annoyed_Citizen says:

    This is pretty low and despicable, you guys have taken political correctness way to to far to an extent where you disgrace our soldiers who fought and died so VUWSA can play your political games and pretend your actually important.

    You guys are just as bad as the boy who beat up a war veteran, you have figuratively said “fuck you” and *raised the middle finger* to our dead, “kicked the balls” of serving vets and “you guys suck” to our current military personal. No wonder the elderly look down on us, our leadership allows disrespectful-selfish attitudes towards our brave men and women, if you guys weren’t so wrapped up in promoting “Sampson” to vice president of upper middle management, and promoting YOUR political views, maybe you guys could do something decent, honourable and respectful with you time and my money.

  8. T says:

    Wow. The idea that ANZAC Day is pro-war is so fucking stupid. Seriously. It’s so fucking stupid I can’t even think of what to write in response to it.

    I’m in shock. I hope the mainstream media doesn’t see this and think all students are as stupid and disrespectful as you bunch of fucking tossers.

  9. Τζαξον Γουντ says:

    Gibbon raises an interesting point, and in fact a deeper metaphor here.

    Conscription: [kuhn-skrip-shuhn] n

    A compulsory contribution of money to a government during a time of war.

    $140 goes to VUWSA. We are all the conscripted soldiers doing VUWSAs bidding in its petty political games. March onward communist soldiers…

    You cannot ride one ideological line when it suits you: “No official mandate from students” or “some students may not feel the same way, and their view needs to be heard also”, when you know full well that you are in no way representational to the student body as a whole.

    Hypocrisy. Is. Too. Fitting. A. Word. To. Use. In. This. Situation. That. I. Have. To. Grit. My. Teeth.

  10. Tristan says:

    “You guys are just as bad as the boy who beat up a war veteran” – Annoyed_Citizen

    “Fuck everyone else’s view, if they are unable to determine that ANZAC day is about remembering the people who died in war, rather than “condoning war” then they are retarded and their voice should not be heard.” – VUWSA_is_a_Joke

    These piece of vitriol are, I think, a good example of why VUWSA was right to avoid ANZAC day. Yes, many people commemorate ANZAC day without in any way condoning war, using it as a day to remember to dead of both sides. They should not be slandered as war glorifiers just because they mourn the dead.

    But others do use it promote a pro-war agenda; and both ANZAC day and the RSA have been political right from the start. ANZAC day has different meanings for different people; and yes, many New Zealanders continue to feel that our involvement in WWI was justified, and would attempt to use the day to force this view on others; anyone who objects is a “traitor”. That some genuinely believe that anyone pointing out this fact is a “retard” who should be silenced (as VUWSA_is_a_Joke states) demonstrates why ANZAC day is still seriously in need of critique; in refusing to bow to the sort of hateful pressure we’ve seen in this comments section, those VUWSA execs who decided not to participate have done a good thing, and I for one congratulate them on this.

  11. T says:

    “many New Zealanders continue to feel that our involvement in WWI was justified, and would attempt to use the day to force this view on others; anyone who objects is a “traitor””

    Who objects? Are there really people out there who don’t think NZ should have been involved in WWI?

    Who are these people? And do they know anything about WWI?

  12. Peter says:

    As a former Vic student, I find the attitude of VUWSA a disgrace.

    People fought and died for the freedoms you enjoy today. Honouring them is not that difficult, is it? You’re not being asked to put your life on the line, as they did, only to show a basic level of respect.

    ANZAC Day pro war? Are you kidding me? No one can be that thick. Surely.

    Disgusted.

  13. Matt says:

    —“Fuck everyone else’s view, if they are unable to determine that ANZAC day is about remembering the people who died in war, rather than ‘condoning war’ then they are retarded and their voice should not be heard”—Vuwsa_is_a_joke.

    I would say that this comment and the others like it reflect a deeper misunderstanding of what (we are often told) ANZAC day is supposed to teach us than any of the conflicting views they deride as “retarded”. That they deride, that is, when not actually suggesting they be silenced, which is just plain creepy, and perhaps more worthy of the retard label.

  14. Sando says:

    Well, I don’t believe New Zealand or anyone should have been involved in World War One, accidental advancements in social development and militarily funded technological gains aside.
    It was a thoroughly pointless and painful affair by all accounts.

  15. Alyx says:

    It has always annoyed me when people speak of ANZAC Day as ‘glorifying’ war, or promoting it in any way.

    There is a difference between glorifying something and commemorating something. ANZAC Day is about commemorating sacrifice, and recognising that what happened at Gallipoli and what happens in all wars, is something to learn from and hopefully, not repeat.

    I’m disappointed that VUWSA felt that there wouldn’t be enough support from the student body to lay a wreath commemorating ANZAC Day. Knowing how many of the Vic students I know were at one of the dawn services, I find it hard to believe.

    I hope the meeting later in the year gives VUWSA the quorum they need to lay a wreath at the 2010 service.

  16. I was at the Dawn Ceremony and enjoyed the rememberance and respect shown by those in attendance. I think if you asked most of the returned service folk they also would not support war (hence ANZAC day should not be about war rather the people).

    The Memorial Theatre is a great space that is currently being converted into lecture space. Maybe you pro-anzac, VUWSA beaters should turn your anger towards the University on this subject.

    As an aside i wonder what sort of wreath the National Front shirt wearers laid. And why do the Australilans get a public holiday even when ANZAC day falls on a weekend???

  17. JD says:

    VUWSA are pissing on the grave of every VUW graduate who lost their lives in military service. Happy now?

    No wonder you’re all afraid of voluntary membership because the exec is totally unrepresentative of the student body. This pathetic and shameful ideological stance is proof of it.

  18. Superior Mind says:

    No consensus from students, are you fucking braindead? That’s your reason for not officially reckognising ANZAC Day on behalf of us? Hell if it was because you’re anti-war or whatever I’d just insult you an be gone but really this is a display of bone-idle ignorance and bad judgement and deserves a lengthy comment.

    What do you, our humble representatives, THINK the majority of students would want? You can take the comments on this article as your answer if you’d like.

    In my four ANZAC Days while at University the VUWSA executive has managed to embarrass me as a VUWSA member twice now. Well fucking done.

    Look, the laying of a wreath on ANZAC Day can mean whatever you want it to mean. If you seriously think that ANZAC Day glorifies war rather than those who fought in them I’m not going to try and change your opinion. However soldiers fought and died, they all deserve to be honoured for this, I’m sure we all agree on that. Freya, you in particular should consider this for next time – there be one. Congratulations on protecting VUWSA’s reputation by the way.

    Lastly, Mr. Nielson, you oviously don’t get the point of ANZAC Day at all; showing respect on ANZAC Day isn’t an obligation you twit, it’s about what you feel. Throwing down a small wreath and having a moment of silence at your next meeting isn’t what it’s all about, that kind of “forced respect” is insincere and worth nothing.

    Pathetic.

  19. Douggie Haig says:

    Superior Mind has hit it on the head by questioning about the lack of concensus from students. Since when was this done anyway and how many people were actually polled for this? I believe it was done just inside the VUWSA meeting room without further thought of how it have any affect on the wider community or should I say more specially wider campuses outside Kelburn.

    Clearly those that have made the decision have never put on a uniform nor understand military minds and instead get their education from watching old war movies which does tend to glorify wars. The fact is that unless you have experienced war or have been in a theatre of operations (which I have done), you should not be so shortsighted. To gain understanding is to listen to both sides and not what just comes from within your own heart.

    Sadly on this occasion, the measure was never weighed nor was it ever analysed. I would challenge the VUWSA Executive to go and spend a weekend with the Territorials and see how ordinary they are in nature and how different backgrounds they are – from white to blue collar workers, from Pakeha, Maori, Asian and Pacific Island backgrounds, who through it all hope to come out better citizens as a result of having discipline and good working habbits that serve them well in daily life.

    By not respecting Anzac Day and those that made sacrifices made done before them is an insulting way of essentially saying, ‘that was then, this is now’ which is you use history is a great way of learning from past mistakes of ensuring military disasters such as Gallipoli will never happen again.

  20. Gibbon says:

    I note that my question has still not been answered by any members of the Executive.

  21. matt herbert says:

    the decision not to support ANZAC day is wrong. ANzac day is and never has been in support of war. Get it right people. it is a day of giving thanks. I cant believe people who think this were voted as our represntitives!!!

  22. Anon says:

    Finally! NZ is living in the past and yes, commeration is condoning war! Why is NZ afraid to admit this? Someone once said ‘why does murdering one deserve the death penalty, but murdering thousands isnt a crime?’. GO Salient!

  23. ANZAC day represents our history and the foundation for this nation, it does not glorify war or condone it, rather it reminds us that it should not be repeated.

    To have boycotted such a significant day, that in many people’s minds is all about Peace and Rememberance, is both shortsighted and ungrateful and shows that war will always be apart of this world.

    It is an astounding omission from a student association from such a learned institution.

  24. Katherine says:

    Interesting that your magazine is called SALIENT….the military explanation for the word is a battlefield feature that projects an attacker’s lines into enemy territory in such a way that the attacker is surrounded on three sides.

    So you have to acknowledge that no matter what the VUWSA has given itself a military bearing without perhaps even being prepared to acknowledge it.

  25. Halonz says:

    The decision of VUWSA is a shocker in many ways, but the students at Victoria Uni need to take some responsibility for the decision the VUWSA made – they are a product of your uni and our society, ignorant selfish people, it must run deeper than the whole PC thing.

  26. Lest We Forget says:

    I am constantly astounded by peoples stupidity. Victoria i have no idea how you got into university let alone into a position of responsibility.

  27. Kerry says:

    Freya,

    Your argument is completely flawed. you claim that “some students may not feel the same way, and their view needs to be heard also”. VUWSA had made tons of policy decisions without getting a student mandate. You do it all the time! E.g. Worker’s Week – Excuse me but where’s the student mandate for that?!! Shouldn’t students have a say in what causes you promote and what you don’t, or is it okay to be arbitrary when it’s a socialist cause?

    You knew that ANZAC day was coming up and the exec should have made got on top of this sooner. This just shows you are completely disorganised. This has made the front webpage of stuff.co.nz now and you have shown yourselves to be complete idiots.

  28. Pharmachick says:

    Shame on you VUWSA.

    This shows a deeply distressing and embarrassing decision by some very youthful and uninformed activists.

    There is a very large difference between honoring our brothers, uncles, fathers and grandfathers from WWI, WWII etc and supporting war carte blanche.

    April 25 is about commemorating a sacrifice that the young men (mostly) made back then for our country.

    All I see in VUWSA actions is selfishness, propaganda and PC-ism.

    This is absolutely outrageous and disgusting. Are there any solid Kiwis in Wellington at Victoria willing to challenge this terrible carry-on from **YOUR** student organisation???

    Come on Vic Students, show us in the rest of NZ that this decision was not yours and NOT a statement that you support.

  29. Victoria Alumni says:

    How many other previous events have resulted in the death of 290 Victoria University Students? The issue of whether it does or does not condone war aside, this should be sufficient to merit the commemoration by the students association.

  30. Aaron D B says:

    Do you really think that ANZAC day truly “condones” war? How misguided could you be. ANZAC day is about not just about those who gave their lives, but also serves as a remembrance of the horrors of war. Need you only see the lists of names written on every epitaph in this country to realise the sombre tone of the day. Furthermore how could a group of elected members act in such idiotic bad taste, especially representing such a large body of people? How did you think the public/press would react on such an objection (did that even occur??); the justification that one should take a stand on such “war condoning” actions bears no redemption in my opinion

  31. Fred Dagg says:

    “I respect that you support ANZAC Day as a day of remembrance and patriotism, and I feel similarly, but some students may not feel the same way, and their view needs to be heard also.”- I guess your view indeed doesn’t matter, as you obviously don’t have any balls to make any sort of firm affirmation other than to wimp out? What a nice unconfrontational person you must be, and to think that the student body could have so misjudged your motives too?

    I am sure they are now looking forward to your being so respectful of them that, mindful of the complaints about compulsory membership above, you will be rushing into the next Exec Meeting demanding that a referendum now take place to canvas student views on compulsory membership, but that in any event, those who don’t want to pay the tax can simply opt out?!

    I look forward to having this blight on students democratic rights revoked next week. After all, isn’t that the sort of freedom why our ANZAC ancestors fought and died to protect? (or is there another motive for trying to repress their memory?)

    Fred

  32. Matt says:

    —“ANZAC day represents our history and the foundation for this nation, it does not glorify war or condone it, rather it reminds us that it should not be repeated.”—

    Well, it certainly seems to be doing a good job of reminding us, thank god for ANZAC day, reminding NZers not to fight wars since 1914.

  33. Compton says:

    ha, loks like i made my comment on the wrong story (was wondering why there were no comments about such a shyt decision–see ‘VUWSA rejects ANZAC invite’). here is a repost:

    So, the VUWSA doesn’t want to be seen to condone war? In that case they should make a fuss about the games featured on the Salient home page: COD-World at War=Brutality, Dawn of War 2, Age of Chivalry and Manhunt. Come on VUWSA, do something about this despicable glorification of the imperialist warmachine! Consistency now!

  34. Anon says:

    VUWSA are in no way a representation of me, my beliefs or most of my fellow students beliefs. The current exec exists to blow wind up each other arses and drive agendas supported by the minority. I look forward to the day where we have a student association which truly represents the majority of students and not a small petty group.

    I am enraged by this action taken by this small group who represent no one but themselves. For Christs sake can we have some half decent candidates running next year?

  35. Boris says:

    This makes me ashamed to be a Vic student. What is wrong with you VUWSA? You might be my university’s student association, but you certainly don’t represent me.

    Once again, shameful.

  36. Concerned Student says:

    I find what VUWSA has done is an insult to those who have lost there lives and walks over the graves of those who stood up to protect freedom. If this is the view of the Student association, that supports young minds in there reach for knowledge then I’m afraid I will no longer support the student association.

  37. Dave Parsons says:

    as a former student from Vic the Student Association doesn’t seem to have really changed. They sit in their meetings and make decisions with little understanding or regard for what the majority of students want or feel.

    Clearly commemorating the lives and deaths of the Kiwis who lost their lives in WWI is not glorifying or condoning war. All we are saying is thank-you for the ultimate sacrifice that you gave so that we can live in (relative) freedom.

    If you don’t understand that then you’re not as smart as you think you are.

  38. Jack says:

    “Let’s ask all the students what they think, and if someone disagrees, we won’t do anything”

    If that’s VUWSA’s policy then I can see why they get sweet fuck all done each and every year.

    It is a sign of respect to lay a wreath on ANZAC Day – respect for the men and women who died fighting on behalf of our country, not about finding glory in war. If you spend just the one morning of the year looking back at how many young New Zealanders have died because of conflict, the horror and futility of war should become apparent to you.

    Has New Zealand fought wars that are politically or morally questionable? Yes. Has New Zealand fought unjust wars. Maybe. Does this mean we should ignore and belittle those who lost their lives because of war? No. Never.

  39. Compton says:

    once again just so no one misses this gem of hypocrisy:

    So, the VUWSA doesn’t want to be seen to condone war? In that case they should make a fuss about the games featured on the Salient home page: COD-World at War=Brutality, Dawn of War 2, Age of Chivalry and Manhunt. Come on VUWSA, do something about this despicable glorification of the imperialist warmachine! Consistency now!

  40. Mary McKenzie says:

    Lets face it, student leaders were never good at getting to grips with the basic concepts of democratic representation.

  41. SJ says:

    Sorry,
    the actions displayed here are a disgrace….
    as a former student of Vic I would like to say that these actions are distasteful, if the exec wished to make a political statement the members could have done so in their own capacity and not in their role as representitives as Victoria students…

  42. evad_1 says:

    Honouring the dead, who sacrificed everything so that today we could live with nothing more pressing to worry about than when the next party is, with 2 minutes every year…is that such a difficult thing ? Who cares if the nations past mistakes were right or wrong , these men and women deserve everything we can give them in terms or rememberance. And that includes those serving today, on our behalf.

  43. Reg says:

    Well I hate to say I told you so but that’s what we get when we elect Commies as our representatives

  44. Tess says:

    You miss the point Ross. “Totally out of keeping with the ideals of any student union”. Some of us don’t want to be part of this freakin’ student union, or another other union for that matter!! What makes you think that just because I am a student that I am amiable to unions? Every year I am FORCED to be a member of this stupid f*%king association. They take my $140 and give me nothing for but a whole pile of shame. Shame on you VUWSA! You don’t represent me or my views. Also, Ross you may want to note that so far on this message board you are the voice of the minority.

  45. defcon5_anzac says:

    Well I hate to …be cliche but .. this surely is political correctness gone bonkers.

    shame on your Freya.

  46. Justin says:

    There are 364 days you can protest and not condone war. One day (exactly 30-40mins actually) is all it takes to show some respect and honour those who gave up their lives so people like VUWSA have the ability of protest. I cant believe I had to pay compulsory fees to you guys.

  47. Binky says:

    Wow just wow, congrats on now being on pretty much all the mainstream news sites, and now having your representatives known through out NZ as attention craving insensitive morons who decided to get up on their PC high horse on ANZAC day.

    I’m pretty sure that no-ones going to be remembering your names in a favorable light after this.

    Well done on being reviled by most of the country for the rest of your lives.

  48. Vic Alumni says:

    Very disappointing. Unfortunately ancestors of many of us have allowed us to enjoy manby freedoms today that may not otherwise have. In my opinion Anzac day is about thanking these people for their immense efforts, both miltiary and diplomatic.

    I think the ‘executive’ should admit that they haven’t represented the people who elected them very well and apologise to all, with an appropriate action to respect all our ancestors as well.

  49. Anna says:

    how can you call yourselves student representatives when you don’t even represent the majority of the student body?? i am completely disgusted with this. why is it compulsary for us to be a part of this ‘student association’ when it is such a disgrace and just wastes our time and money. shame on you…you disgust me with your opinions…calling Anzac day pro-war is dispicable…you disgust me

  50. Grath says:

    Tossers in the capital city once again. Do you need a policy to take a shit? Grow up and get over yourselves

  51. Stevey says:

    VUWSA always has, and always will be, a complete f*cking waste of time, run by those with no life.

    These tree hugging scumbags try to launch their future political careers through VUWSA, but most land up as union reps for cheese makers or driving buses.

    Fuck off VUWSA.

  52. Poppy says:

    Wow, that is truely retarded. Considering Anzac day as even remotely pro war is ignorant and quite simply, dumb.

  53. Dave says:

    This is an extremely bold move on behalf of VUWSA. That so many of you don’t get it speaks to how ingrained the pro-war mentality is in New Zealand and beyond. Remembering IS glorification if no lessons are learned, and the last time I looked nearly every nation, whether you think of them as good or bad, are still lining up to send their young men and women off to war. Why aren’t you people disgraced by THAT? Employ some critical thinking: that’s what you’re at VUW for. Peace.

  54. The Fuhrer says:

    Zeig heil!
    Nice of you not to support me rather than those blasted ANZACS!
    Keep up the good work, and remember the good old National Socialist principles of keeping the masses under your authoritarian control (only a thin illusion of democracy, for after all you obviously know better than they!)

  55. NatO says:

    I remember when I was at Vic and the peacekeepers from NZ had just entered Bogainville bringing an end to a hideous nine years civil war. On campus the student union had already set up their petition in the quad to “get armed NZ troops out of Bogainville.” Wow, what brainy boxes the union attracts. The peacekeeping mission, brokered by Don McKinnon, was unarmed. The peacekeeping mission was not sponsored by the UN because of this. Yes, the student union. Not the brightest lights on campus.

  56. S. McF says:

    This is what happens when young kids are given an opportunity to show maturity and political wisdom, but let their youthful urge to make a statement against wider society and the establishment take over. The sadness of it is, in later life they will look back on this and cringe. Grow up. Grow a brain. Apologise for the disrespect.

  57. B Simpson says:

    Freya Eng, you will never get a mandate to lay a wreath because so few students have faith in your leadership. That’s what you get for compulsory union membership and power going to the heads of a disrepectful bunch of kids. Please now say you didn’t have the money for a wreath because of high fees – that record is more popular.

  58. Hezron says:

    It has been almost 40 years since I was at university. Our student’s association was full of self-righteous wankers in those days too. I have seen a lot of life since those days and I know that it is always possible to put respect for the deeds and sacrifices of others ahead of one’s own personal feelings. It would be too much to ask them to grow up. What’s the point. They will be followed by more immature children.

  59. Richard says:

    As a former student and someone who lost relatives on the Somme in the First World War and during the Second World War against the fascists of Germany and Japan, I am disgusted by the ignorance and arrogance of VUWSA. Anyone who has had any contact with veterans or a simple understanding of the hell these people went through will realise that they do not glorify war. The ignorance of the VUWSA Executive in saying ANZAC Day “is nothing to do with students” makes me sick. VUW itself lost 300 students killed whilst thousands served in the fight against Hitler and his gas chambers and the Japanese, who murdered hundreds of thousands in China, the Phillipines and elsewhere in the Pacific. You should be ashamed Freya and Jasmine, you insult the dead and the families that had to endure their loss.

  60. Dave says:

    With comments like these no wonder National are in government and anyone with a brain has to leave New Zealand.

  61. Andy says:

    Can’t believe the ignorance of the VUWSA exec for suggesting that paying ones respects to those who fought and died for their country and in defence of the freedoms that we enjoy today is in some way a glorification of war.

    Time they received an education beyond the well insulated walls of their offices. Join the rest of society in recognising ANZAC day for what it is and join the rest of humanity in extending some common courtesy and respct to those who fell in defence of the rest of us.

  62. MJT says:

    You misguided, arrogant bunch of tossers. It’s not about condoning war, it’s about remembering and honouring those who had enough of a backbone to ensure you could ponce about making petulant political gestures at their expense.

  63. Ben says:

    Hang your heads in shame you pathetic immature creatures.

    ANZAC Day has nothing to do with condoning war. It is about remembering a war that was evil, remembering millions who died to no purpose in the vain hope that cretins like you might understand that far from condoning war it was a statement condemning war. Perhaps one day you might grow up and perhaps appreciate the shame you have brought on yourself, upon Victoria University and upon this country.

    I despise you. You are contemptible.

  64. Manissa says:

    Are you kidding me!! man I feel sorry for you Vic students. Your student head is the typical confused so-far-PC-shes-got-her-head-up-her-own-ass type. “I don’t want to look like we support war at all,” she said. Holy crap, please go home and take a long hard look ar yourself you mindless twat. And stop bumming helen clarks ideaologies, honestly, shes the only other person who i ever thought would do something remotely as retarded as this. hopefully this is the last bloody responsibility shes given and i better bloody not see her in parliament ever.

  65. Robbo says:

    I cannot believe the arrogance of the VUWSA exec. How can you claim you represent the hundreds of students when you make decisions based on the personal views of individuals on the exec. An absolutely disgraceful decision by a bunch of power hungry, media craving muppets. The purpose of the ANZAC ceremonies are to remember the people that died, not to condone war. I hardly think that dawn services, prayers and wreath laying serve as encouragement to invade more countries and cost more lives. Perhaps you should consider putting your personal views aside next time before you decide to make such a ridiculous decisions I hope you have considered the massive ramifications of this decision as I can assure you that the students of Victoria will not enjoy being made to look like arrogant and ungrateful people with no respect for those that passed away. There are plenty of other, more appropriate ways to display your anti-war sentiments rather than embracing shock tactics.

  66. Aaron says:

    Another example of how Vuwsa compulsory membership and levy was put to bad use. Its like it has always been, no real accountability to the body they claim to represent and plenty of sitting on hands and checking articles of association to cover themselves.

  67. shane says:

    narrow minded pretentious boofheads, thats all I can say, you are not worth the data storage cost of this website, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

  68. Josh says:

    You Retards!

    The only reason you are living in a democracy and able to attend your precious university is because of the sacrifice of those who went away and died for your country and the way of living that you have today.

    No doubt many VUW students have also died at war.

    Respect the lives that were laid down to protect yours and your childrens future.

    How does respecting the fallen condone War?? You Dicks.

  69. Gabrielle says:

    I can barely put into words the anger I feel towards this so called exec that represent ME a student of Victoria University!!!Why after so many years of support for ANZAC day would you decide that THIS was a good year to stop! The pain of what those world wars meant to my grandfathers may have faded with time and their passing but the respect WE have for their sacrifice will never fade! And that is why you lay a wreath not because it is a god dam mandate but because those men and women put their lives on the line for NZ and the freedom of people throughout Europe and the Pacific!!NOTE ROSS BRIGHTON that they fought for NZ and those less fortunate than us who were about to succumb to a German dictatorship!! Go back to your poetry! ANZAC day is about all those that have served and fallen it is our only day of national respect. Can someone please sack the ENTIRE exec! Great comment Richard! Spot on!

  70. Matt says:

    There is some discourse apparent in many of the comments to this article that I find pretty interesting. First, the rather strange association between not laying a wreath on ANZAC day and “get[ting] up on [a] PC highhorse” (Binky), “selfishness, propaganda and PC-ism” (Pharmachick), and defcon5_anzac’s claim of “political correctness gone bonkers” (this phrase described by one astute wit many years ago as “the mating-cry of the bigot”). Given that, according to Binky (again), the members of VUWSA are going to be “reviled by most of the country”, and, Aaron DB’s question, “how did you think the public/press would react on such an objection… [sic]??”, well I fail to see how VUWSA is being “Politically Correct” here.
    Second, the rather bizarre idea that standing around in the cold for the dawn service honours the dead and their sacrifice. Attending the Dawn Parades doesn’t honour the dead, it doesn’t thank them for their sacrifice, and it demonstrably doesn’t make future wars less likely. Honouring the sacrifices of World War One (and all of the other Wars that followed the one to End All Wars) would more properly involve actively working to create a society that rejects all forms of violence – not just war, but the sort of epistemic violence inherent in statements like “I hope the mainstream media doesn’t see this and think all students are as stupid and disrespectful as you bunch of fucking tossers” (T – there’s that “PC” attitude again, right?) and “you misguided, arrogant bunch of tossers” (MJT). Honouring the fallen dead could also involve making use of the freedom we possess today (which Ross Brighton rightly points out wasn’t actually secured by the WWI soldiers anyway, and I would argue is more a product of historical and political fluke) to learn enough, and be thoughtful enough, to participate in a debate that rises above the “fuck you your [sic!] wrong” level of discourse we seem to be seeing here.
    And also – shouldn’t there have been a 50-post Hitler by now? Or is that just too inappropriate?

  71. Matt says:

    This is a disgusting and utterly disrespectful act. Who the hell do you think you are? Its a cowardly act! As a current student I am angered and apalled at this decision not to respect the ANZACS who gave their lives so that we could live ours. To view it as “Pro-war” is utterly dumbfounding. The people at VUWSA need to pull their heads out of their asses. There will always be idiots on the student board [i.e. that fuckwit 2008 President Joel Cosgrove] but this tops the cake. I’m sick of having to pay for an organisaiton that has done nothing for me as a student. Get your act together!

  72. Robbo says:

    Dave (9:44pm), you are also a muppet. Remembering the men and women, most of whom were forced to enlist, is not the same as supporting a government’s view on war. The General Election is the time for you to make your pro/anti-war stance not at a remembrance ceremony for those that were killed. I think you are missing the point completely, what most people are rightly saying is that we have had no choice in this decision. The personal views of the exec are being forced upon us. They are supposed to represent the views of the student body as a whole and therefore it is a disgraceful decision to use this opportunity to portray individual views. I am hoping that we will see an apology from the exec in the very near future for creating this complete mess.

  73. Conor Greive says:

    Wow…. I am glad i go to Otago and not Vic, I would be embarrassed to be represented by such a bunch of ignorant clueless morons. Bad call muz

  74. Gabrielle says:

    Sorry one more thing…. ‘Matt’ stop trying to be clever about something that is bigger than you will ever be able to understand. We get up at dawn because that it one very small way we can respect these people.
    It is the least we can do when they lay in a dank muddy trench surrounded by their own filth at 5 in the morning freezing their butt off being shelled by an enemy they can’t even see!!!THAT’S WHY WE LAY A WREATH!

  75. Stolli says:

    F^#kin Students… No one who has had to fire a rifle in anger, ever glorifies war. VUWSA exec, you are an ignorant, small minded bunch of time wasters. Get out in the real world and earn your worth. You spend so much time being taught BS in nice safe environments that put cotton wool around your ideals so you don’t get slapped down by real life. (that said, I do know good buggers who are students. That proves to me there must some)

    ANZAC day is more than just a day to think about WW1 and WW2, its about the making of a nation, that until that time had very little direction and status in the world. It is also about those who are doing their best right now to help other small countries that are suffering major internal instability where the only way to keep one part from annihilating the other is to put our armed forces in the way.
    Freya and Jasmine, wake up to yourselves, we are not a country of war moungers, ask Lt Gen Mateparae about retention of recruits and you would find it is evident that less people are prepared to serve as we move towards a more individualist driven society but we still take time to respect those who do, and have done what their country has asked of them.

    As for laying a wreath, thats the least that should be done. With so many students giving their lives for the freedom that sees you in that seat of authority.

    Holy Shit this makes me mad as hell!

  76. peteremcc says:

    I suggest contacting Anne Tolley and Wayne Mapp and explaining why this is a perfect example of why we should have Voluntary Student Membership.

    Email:

    a.tolley@ministers.govt.nz
    w.mapp@ministers.govt.nz

    Dear Anne Tolley,

    I wish to make it clear that the disgraceful actions of VUWSA on ANZAC day (http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/2370454/Student-body-rejected-Anzac-wreath-invite/) are not reflective of my beliefs.

    I find it objectionable that VUWSA would boycott ANZAC day simply because a few members of the executive believe that the day glorifies war.

    However I find it equally objectionable that these people are my official representatives as a student of VUWSA – something of which I have no choice in.

    It is ludicrous to assume that the views of the VUWSA executive are even remotely reflective of the student body as a whole.

    In fact, how can they be? An organisation that ‘represents’ all students cannot take a position on any issue without misrepresenting some students.

    This latest stunt by VUWSA is significant only because of the extent to which VUWSA is misrepresenting students. Unfortunately, VUWSA misrepresent some students every day.

    Please end compulsory membership of student associations. As far as i’m concerned, student associations should be free to do as they like, but they shouldn’t be able to represent me without my permission, and they shouldn’t be able to take $135 for the privilege.

  77. Alfonso says:

    This is absolutely appalling. Honouring the dead has nothing to do with glorifying war. If people hadn’t fought to protect our country, there wouldn’t be a free VUWSA for you to all sit around and feel so damn important. The majority of students at Vic disagree with you so who in the hell do you represent?.

  78. Louise says:

    Disgusting! Remembering the dead is no more than a demonstration of respect for those people who died fighting for our freedom – how does honoring their memory condone war? Get a grip VUWSA!

  79. MJT says:

    Hey Matt 10.38pm. You’re not clever and you’re not funny. Stop trying to impress your imaginary friends with your quasi cerebral crap. Now go to the bathroom and wipe your chin. This disgusting act by the VUWSA has obviously and, quite rightly, horrified the majority of sensible thinking people, but not you……hmmmm

  80. Rob Woolley says:

    Leadership, this blog is about a lack of leadership. To say you have no mandate means you cannot decide anything that is not discussed and voted upon, this is failing to lead and show initiative, the executive should resign. Freya Eng has said “I respect that you support Anzac Day as a day of remembrance and patriotism, and I feel similarly, but some students may not feel the same way, and their view needs to be heard also.”. This is a meaningless statement. It means that to make a decision when someone, somewhere, some how, disagrees with it is wrong without assessing the merit or otherwise of that dissenting opinion. The executive has made a decision, or failed to make a decision, where only one rational decision could and should have been made. You, the executive, should resign. many harder choices will be put before your association than this and you are likely to fail in those too if this is any indication. Pass the reins to those who have better decision making skills at present.

  81. Andrew says:

    As a VUW graduate, I am shocked at the ignorant position taken by VUWSA.
    Those in the executive are an embarassment to the university, themselves and this country.

  82. Dan Sloan says:

    Matt 10:38, how does standing in silence for those men and women who lost their lives in armed conflict not honour the dead, nor remember their sacrafice? Would ignoring it be better? Is slamming people who lost their relatives to armed conflict more respectful? If you don’t agree with it, don’t go. You have that freedom. Ever wondered why?

  83. binky says:

    Now, now lets not lay into Matt 10:38 here, he has every right to speak his mind, and I fear that if you upset him he’ll go all debate club on us again.

  84. This is great! Refused to lay a wreath – wonderful! Courageous! (Commemorate that!) ANZAC commemoration for me has always been nonsense. War mongering in fact and stupid sentiment. Bilge and drivel. Cliches riddle the ground and bodies follow. Meanwhile wars continue – the commemorations perpetuate rather than end wars and forget the horror that war is. Let’s look at it objetively – the ANZACS were kllers – wars happen not by magic but when these killers -the ANZACS – pull triggers – when any soldier pulls a trigger… This is a great stand agsinst the stupidty of this ANZAC moron fest. Let’s recall those killed in Imperialist wars – and remember that thee mafority killed in all wars a civilians…

    Want to remmber or understnd war? Go to library – read books – read The Diary of Anne Frank – many other books…it is all terrible – remember the millions of people who died in Korea, Vietnam and many many other places…forget NZ’s pathetic little war efforts to please their masters, grovelling to the British and others.

  85. Karin says:

    Hey guys,
    I reckon that those of us who are upset about the action of the VUWSA executive should take positive steps to show that we think the decision to not lay a wreath was inappropriate.
    I suggest that concerned students take it into their own hands and represent the section of the VUWSA members who understand that the recognition of a sacrifice is not glorifying it or war.
    I am sure that it is possible to lay a tribute belatedly, whether it be officially VUWSA mandated or not.
    If each member who feels aggrieved picked a flower from their garden (or their neighbour’s) and placed it on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior it would express more than words on a website can do.
    Or maybe Salient can set up somewhere for people to make a small donation that can be put towards a wreath or given to the RSA… or something else constructive.

    I think that the decision to not lay a wreath shows that it is not possible for all student’s views to be represented by a few, and to be forced to be a member of an organisation that pretends to represent what we think is grossly unfair.

  86. Ben says:

    As a Victoria University graduate I find this stance absolutely disgraceful. There are times when personal political motivations should be put aside, and the sacrifices made by those who died and suffered in the World Wars respected. In no way do the dawn services glorify war, they are a communal acknowledgement of wars waste and pointlessness, a recognition of what has happened so that it does not happen again. Such a move reflects complete ignorance of the horrors suffered by New Zealanders who believed they were fighting for our freedom.

  87. Jared says:

    Congratulations to Salient for bringing this to the publics’ attention. I wonder at the attitudes of Victoria’s executive. There are classic arguments that holds sway here. Variously labelled it boils down to “the bullied become bullies”, “the judged becoming jury”, “literal versus figurative”. Executives are a haven for the narrow-minded keen on pushing their own agenda under the guise of democracy when in actual fact the views of the majority and basic commonsense is lost in the flotsam brought about by people best described as anti-social geeks who suddenly find they have a mandate and power. The decision made by the executive is mindblowing, ignorant and shows a complete lack of understanding. The majority of ex-soldiers, THE PEOPLE WHOM ANZAC DAY IS FOR, do not condone war – many went because they had to or be jailed. Anzac day was not set up by the governments that sent them, but the soldiers’ themselves. Anzac Day is for victims of war. Would the executive have refused to acknowledge The Holocaust? That would drawn INTERNATIONAL condemnation. Whatever the reason, anyone who died in war deserves to have their memory honoured. Anzac Day marks the lives of those who fought and died, but it also marks the lives of those caught in the cross-fire. Speak to any veteran and you will find they have anger and compassion in equal measure for their supposed foes. Universities used to be hotbeds of original thought, opinion and innovation, but this used to be done after examining all facts. NOT ANYMORE CLEARLY. A truly sad indictment on university in general and on the standard of people willing to put their hands up to represent.

  88. Niquardo says:

    I hope both these bitches die of swine flu – and following their legacy no one remembers or honours their memory: We wouldn’t want to be seen to be condoning pandemics… That wouldn’t be right at all.

  89. Matt says:

    Gabrielle – I apologise if you thought I was belittling the emotions you feel, and the respect you have, for anyone who has fought in a war – that wasn’t my intent. I totally uphold your right to participate in the service etc, and I respect the way you feel about those who’ve died. Just as (I’d hope) you respect my right to disagree on the “meaning” of ANZAC day, and what it actually achieves. What I don’t agree with is the way people on this board have reacted to an opinion that they think is wrong with insults and abuse. I’ve got nothing against being angry – but I wonder if many of the people who have posted on this board would say some of the things they have said in front of a returned serviceman? To say things reminiscent of an SS heavy (Ben I’m looking at you) in front of someone who had fought against Fascism for example, would seem more of an insult than questioning the point ANZAC day.
    And, before you ask, yeah, I would stand (and have stood) by my views when talking (in person) to current and past soldiers – and received responses ranging from agreement, to debate, to violence.
    “Matt”
    Dan – If you read the post, you’ll see I did suggest what would be better than standing in silence etc
    MJT – I’m flattered. My chin?

  90. Mr Blobby says:

    Karin 11.38 – Great blog and great idea. I hope everyone gets behind it. It would certainly make an impact and a statement to the simple minds at the VUWSA.

  91. Dan Sloan says:

    Matt, I did read your post, however I fail to see how you can claim the very act of remembrance does not remember those who sacrificed their lives.

    The sad thing about this is that of all the wars we have been involved in, no stronger case for the anti-war movement exists than our campaign with the Aussies at Gallipoli. It is a time when those opposed to war and those who fought in them (and these two groups would have massive overlap) can come together to appreciate the senseless loss of life, yet at the same time honour those who gave their lives for a foreign power that would eventually dessert us. The sad thing is you have plenty of middle ground if you think about it rationally. Respect the sacrifice, regret the circumstance.

  92. Andrew Bird says:

    Until now I was rather ambivalent about ANZAC Day. However, I’m enjoying the vitriol and raw internet anger VUWSA’s decision no to lay a wreath has caused. Just for providing me a moment of conflict I would like to thank Ms Fremantle, Eng et al. Oh, and of course there’s nothing more compelling in debate than threats of violence and personal affronts.

  93. Nathan says:

    Im embarrassed to be a vic uni student

  94. Rob Woolley says:

    To Richard. If Anzacs are killers and they decided not to defend then does that not condone killers and killing by allowing those who start wars the automatic victory and the killing which ensues anyway? Your views are deranged. War is terrible, commemorating it is to remember how bad wars are, not to condone them. I’ve jst started Uni study, have these people, the Richards of this world, not learnt even the basics of logic?

  95. Don Carson says:

    I was on the VUWSA executive when the wreath mentioned in the article was laid by the late Peter Wilson in 1973. ANZAC Day was in those days largely a glorification of New Zealanders at war overseas. New Zealand’s participation in the Viet Nam war was felt to be justified because the previous wars that New Zealand marked at ANZAC Day were believed to be just and right.

    The true nature of ANZAC Day commemoration was shown the year before. The RSA objected to a wreath ‘to the dead and those yet to die in Viet Nam’. The RSA didn’t want anything political. An implied reference to the Vietnamese victims of the war at was political in their view. ANZAC Day was about our dead – not their dead.

    Unfortunately that partisan view of who is remembered at ANZAC Day, and who is not to be remembered, largely continues to this day, albeit with some exceptions.

    It is equally unfortunate that the great majority of those who object to the actions of the present day executive can’t raise the level of debate beyond vitriolic personal abuse and consider instead why New Zealand armed forces are in at least two distant countries at war.

  96. Odeon Boy says:

    Matt – various. I think Dan just trumped you with his sublime blog. Perhaps it’s time you found another cause – you sure don’t seem to be attracting many disciples to this one.

  97. Auckland graduate, thank God says:

    My grandfather, my father and three of my uncles went overseas to make the world safe for naive people who make dumb decisions like the refusal to lay a wreath. Vic should be ashamed. You might regain the respect of most of the citizens of Wellington by organising a mass silent procession to the War Memorial to lay your own wreath, irrespective of the wishes of your childishly solipsistic student exec.

    Grow up, for Christ’s sake.

  98. Dave says:

    Andrew Bird says, “Oh, and of course there’s nothing more compelling in debate than threats of violence and personal affronts.”

    Too true!

    The embarrassment here is not the VUWSA exec, but the mindless comments complaining about them. Sadly, you’re all fodder to the war mongers you seek to support. No one cares about you, other than the VUWSA exec who want to draw a line in the sand. Ironic, isn’t it?

  99. Alan M says:

    Long past the age of being a student but had many happy memories from Victoria. BUT – Jasmine Freemantle?? Come on. Use your real name. Like calling yourself Hardly Kosher! And Freya Eng? Had a mate called Eng from Rhineland. Really nice guy and proud German. If you are of German extraction he would be ashamed of you. Come on student body – VOTE!

  100. Dave says:

    Nathan says, “Im embarrassed to be a vic uni student”

    I’m also embarrassed that you’re a Vic uni student.

  101. evan says:

    stupid, ignorant, ungrateful, disrespectful morons!! it beggars belief such a decision could be made by the supposed representatives of the student body. To view Anzac Day as pro-war is possibly the dumbest most idiotic thing to come out of that retarded institution that is the VUWSA. Given that the very people who made this decision most likely grew up in a peaceful stable (relatively) free democracy seems to have gone right over their heads…SHAME ON THEM!!! Im simply disgusted

  102. Dan Sloan says:

    Mindless comments aside, Dave, I don’t believe the assertion that we’re all fodder for the war machine holds when no one here really seems to be glorifying war. The argument here is whether it is rational to say that ANZAC Day glorifies war, and while some are making their cases in a less than articulate fashion, there are some here who are respectfully disagreeing with the Executive, and this does not automatically make them part of a huge militaristic machine.

  103. Matt says:

    Dan – I didn’t say that remembrance doesn’t remember those who sacrificed their lives – I said that I don’t think it does them any honour, and suggested what might.
    I agree with you – there is as you say, plenty of middle ground. But I really think that when people start advocating that respect be imposed (and they have, on this board), they not only show no respect (to anything that these same folk think that the ANZACs etc have fought for), but a total disregard of circumstances as well.
    We respect sacrifice by regretting its necessity – but only if we understand the circumstances.

  104. Odeon Boy says:

    Dave 12.11 And that comment is not a personal affront? Hypocrisy: prejudice with a halo

  105. Matt W says:

    I take my votes back, Jasmine Freemantle and Freya Eng. You can both get.

  106. G says:

    This entire thing is a monumental farce.

    I, along with most others, can differentiate between acts of showing respect for the fallen and condoning war.

    Furthermore I think it’s important to ask pacifists who cry “murder under the guise of war is still murder”, and claim “objectivity”, saying that killing is something to be categorically opposed to, this; would you kill someone to stop them from killing others? Or would you, like so many “lefties” (I consider myself a lefty, however embattled by the ignorance many of my comrades) be happy to have allowed Saddam Hussein to continue to reign in Iraq? Simply because you categorically refuse to kill, even men that you know are sadistic murderers, rapists & thieves?

    Sadly there do exist people & regimes who commit genocide. Our armies are there to stop them.

    These VUWSA people are fools, no “official mandate”.. What a ridiculous tautology. The mandate comes from the people they represent… then the officials/executives make it official (if they be truly representative). Going by the previous comments these execs are not very good at representing their people.

    I hope I haven’t sounded to much like another pseudo-intellectual wanker, I guess it comes with this kinda territory.

    Fucking stuck-up idiots.

  107. pete says:

    it is utterly disgusting for a union in support of our country’s future (the students) to disrespect our countrymen that have given there lives for their country and our way of life. now you can see and twist that statment however you like but that is wat those men did for all of us, and they deserve at the very least a day of rememberance.To turn down the oppertunity to pay respect by laying a simple wreath is a DISGRACE.

  108. John says:

    Freya Eng a.k.a ‘Dave’

  109. Andre says:

    As a student of Vic I am appalled, disgusted and ashamed that the people in charge of the organisation that supposedly represents me (even though I have no choice about being part of it) could make such a decision. The fact that such a significant decision was made without any apparent consultation with the student body is rediculous. How can these people be allowed to run VUWSA? The fact that they believe laying a wreath constitutes a pro-war stance shows their complete ignorance of the purpose of ANZAC day and should be ashamed to call themselves New Zealanders. I was at that ceremony and would have been immensley proud to have seen a representative of VUWSA lay a wreath.

    I have taken the advice of petermcc 11pm and sent those emails, I urge everyone who agrees to do the same, lets make use of the democratic system and see if we can’t get the system changed.

  110. Tim Edwards says:

    ‘Didn’t have a mandate’ – do you poll all students for every decision you make? No, you are elected to make sensible decisions and do what is normal/human or at least do what’s usually done!

    ‘Concerned for the Union’s reputation’ – You already have a despicable one, here was an opportunity to behave like acceptably respectful and unselfish people and you failed. And I have been unable to find a way to not join/withdraw from VUWSA. In my years in Wellington before becomeing a student again, I was shocked by the behaviour of VUWSA compared to the Students Unions I am used to overseas, and never wanted to join VUWSA in the first place.

    ‘ANZAC day supports/celebrates war’ – many comments have covered this, but this idea shows a complete lack of understanding of what ANZAC day is about, and is not what’s expected from people in a centre of leaning and enquiry.

    ‘Nothing to do with us…done it’s part’ – How snobbish. And those who died? ‘Thanks for doing your bit, now we have the freedom to choose how we think and act, and we’ll forget you now’.
    Some VUW students still serve, and still put themselves at risk in locations now where they are providing reconstruction, securty and other aid to those who need it, representing NZ as they do it.

    Halonz had a point – why do VUW students keep electing *$%@wits like this?

  111. Dan Sloan says:

    Matt: Fair enough. Civil discussion is wonderful, isn’t it? The great thing about this is that if the President is right, and no mandate exists, then the student body shouldn’t technically do anything. However, once they get one, they’re bound by it so long as the students vote for it. Simple. I don’t think you can really rag on the Exec here for doing their job, but comments implying that ANZAC Day ‘supports’ war are certainly up for scrutiny and debate. I like the way previous Execs did their bit as quoted by the article, hopefully a similar compromise can be reached in time for next year.

  112. Unimpressed says:

    If Eng and Nielson is a sample of the calibre of the young people of this country and their ‘logic’ – the future is not looking particularly bright at all.

    Hopefully the student body has more sense and dumps the lot of you.

    Shame – thats what you bring to your university.

  113. Robbo says:

    Andrew Bird (11:53), I 100% agree that the amount of physical threats on these boards is completely unneccessary but thats the nature of having a faceless forum to express views. The bottom line for me is, regardless of whether wreath laying is right or wrong, I do not expect the exec to make these kind of decisions based off personal views. They are supposed to represent the views of the student body and quite clearly any change from normal protocol from one year to the next should be preceded by some sort of agreement from the students. I do not expect to be involved in every small decision the exec make but when they are making a decision that is clearly going to make a large number of people upset then I would expect to be able to have my say on that.

  114. jimmorrison says:

    unbelieviable. just cos you were too lazy to get up early on saturday don’t pretend you were representing students by not laying a wreath

  115. AJ says:

    I am surprised, and I am disappointed. This is not at all a good or positive direction for VUWSA to be headed.

  116. Westcoaster says:

    Well Done! The actions by the VUWSA in not supporting the jingoistic farce of ANZAC day deserves to be applauded. The glorification of war should be discouraged – especially where the wars are in support of a colonial past that no longer represents the makeup of Australian or New Zealand society. It is time to move away from this as an historic symbol. I am proud that the university I attended in the 1970s still has the integrity to stand up against this outdated nonsense!

  117. Sam Oldham says:

    Ok I don’t see any other members of the Executive responding to these attacks, so I’m gonna take responsibility for myself.

    The Anzacs who fought and died in WWI did not die for our freedoms in New Zealand. That is not a political statement, that is a factual statement. At no time during WWI was New Zealand under threat of invasion, by anyone, so the idea that those men were butchered so that we could be free is completely and utterly false. It’s fuckin false. If it wasn’t false, atleast one of these 97 highly offensive comments would clearly explain why it isn’t false. The argument that Anzacs died for democracy isn’t even worth passing comment on.

    I choose not to participate in Anzac Day celebrations because I believe it is impossible to show support for veterans at events like Dawn Parades without supporting the illusion that their friends died for democracy and freedom. I’m not going to commemorate one of history’s greatest scandals with 21 gun salutes and air shows and politicians thanking these men for dying for our freedoms. I personally devote the day to thinking about the unimaginable sacrifice of the men that fought, reading the diary of my great-grandfather who died early as a result of injuries sustained at the Somme, and making sure I’m ready to do everything I can in future to oppose it happening again.

    As elected representatives, without a clear mandate from students on certain issues, all we can do is make the best decisions we can. I do not attend Dawn Parades, so it would be illogical for me to support my students’ association laying a wreath at one. I do not believe that laying a wreath is ‘pro-war.’ I do not believe that attending a Dawn Parade is ‘condoning war.’ I believe that Dawn Parades often promote wrong ideas about the role of the Anzacs in WWI, so I don’t attend them. I believe people should be free to commemorate the day as they choose, and that it would be irresponsible for me to support VUWSA laying a wreath, when I would never lay a wreath. If my Executive out-voted me, I would respect their decisions.

    Karin I think laying a belated wreath is a really positive initiative. If VUWSA put the issue to an SRC and students voted for it, it would of course be officially mandated by us.

  118. peteremcc says:

    Hey Sam,

    As I just posted, although it seems to have been deleted…

    VUWSA don’t have a mandate to do anything.

    Any time they take a position on an issue, they are misrepresenting the views of some other students.

    If you force EVERYONE to be represented by ONE organisation, it’s impossible for them to accurately represent everyone.

  119. Not Freya Eng says:

    Students. Soooo boring. Next time someone tries to steal your country and kill your loved ones you won’t have time to debate – from the looks of this you will be busy running for the hills saving your own sorry necks. GET A JOB.

  120. Karin says:

    Thanks Sam for having the guts to front up – but it is not about WWI, it’s about the hope that we will never again get to the point where we feel that killing is the only way to keep ‘our freedom’ and that it is necessary to kill other’s children, parents, brothers, sisters… Just because it originally was about Gallipoli does not mean that it is still about Gallipoli, it is about the future and learning from the mistakes of the past.

  121. Alex says:

    Good call Sam Oldham. I read one wreath down south here written by school kids, with all that stuff about ‘defending our country’ … a tad disturbing. As you say, it really doesn’t apply to WWI or the other wars, except probably WWII.
    To jingoistic chest beaters: don’t forget that the really brave people in the full-on ANZAC piece were the conscientious objectors: ostracized, imprisoned, tortured etc. by their own people, for refusing to fight for the Empire.

  122. Andrew says:

    Did it ever occur to some of you outraged furies that there are others who agree with this move? My grandfather was lost in the war. Not physically, but emotionally. He never escaped from the shadows that consumed him in that horrific place. I cannot in good conscience celebrate ANZAC day because of the deep respect I feel not only for our dead, but for the dead of our enemies who were not necessarily in the wrong. WW1 was a stupid war and we were not ‘the good guys’. If all who celebrated ANZAC were aware of this then I might feel happier about going through the motions of honouring those who fell. However, I choose to honour them with the choices I make and the attitudes I hold about peace, justice and social equality. I think you have all misjudged this decision. Get over your indignance and attempt some dialogue. That would be the intelligent response. If these people are wrong, then they won’t see the error of their ways from shrieking harpies.

  123. I’m a current post-grad student at Vic and am now in my fourth year studying here. To be honest, I’ve never really been interested in VUWSA. They just take my money and end up playing bitchy adolescent attention-seeking whores pretending to be really elected, responsible adults. They’re not. And this proves it.

    I remember a couple of years ago sitting at Mount St Cafe and reading the old Salient issues that they’ve stuck on the table. The issue talked of the Victoria students lost while at war. To not join with our country to remember them, the many thousands of other men and women, is an absolute disgrace.

    I am disgusted with VUWSA. I am pro-union, pro-Labour, and a social liberal. But if these people on the VUWSA exec think they’re making a political stand using my student fees, then this is something we really do need to change. Boo to all those VUWSA fuckers. Let’s get rid of them. Now.

  124. Gibbon says:

    Sigh.
    I really shouldn’t be doing this at 2am in the morning.
    Sam, thanks for commenting. I note however that you did not address my question. Fair enough, it was probably overshadowed by the overbearing comments of many. Nonetheless I shall reply to your post.

    “Ok I don’t see any other members of the Executive responding to these attacks, so I’m gonna take responsibility for myself.”
    Alright. Fair enough. I recognise that you are a member of the Exec.

    “The Anzacs who fought and died in WWI did not die for our freedoms in New Zealand. That is not a political statement, that is a factual statement. At no time during WWI was New Zealand under threat of invasion, by anyone, so the idea that those men were butchered so that we could be free is completely and utterly false. It’s fuckin false. If it wasn’t false, atleast one of these 97 highly offensive comments would clearly explain why it isn’t false. The argument that Anzacs died for democracy isn’t even worth passing comment on.”

    In order to simplify things, I believe you’re right. As usual, as we see time and time again, the soldiers were fighting a war that their class did not start. No politicians were fighting – no, these were everyday people. But I digress.

    No, New Zealand was never directly threatened. But, Sam, I imagine the feeling was one of support for our allies, and a grim acknowledgement that if we did not come to their aid, there would be little to stand in the way of New Zealand’s occupation. I don’t know this for sure, but it seems logical.

    Now, assuming this was the general feeling, or something near to it, then what of these ‘everyday’ people who were the soldiers? As a result of this way of thinking, these people were sent to fight and die in foreign lands. They fought for our country. However foolish you think their superiors were, I find it hard to believe that you can condemn them for doing so.

    I choose not to participate in Anzac Day celebrations because I believe it is impossible to show support for veterans at events like Dawn Parades without supporting the illusion that their friends died for democracy and freedom. I’m not going to commemorate one of history’s greatest scandals with 21 gun salutes and air shows and politicians thanking these men for dying for our freedoms. I personally devote the day to thinking about the unimaginable sacrifice of the men that fought, reading the diary of my great-grandfather who died early as a result of injuries sustained at the Somme, and making sure I’m ready to do everything I can in future to oppose it happening again.

    Here I disagree wholeheartedly. I do not feel that attending a ceremony is linked with approving of all facets of the ceremony. I am not a religious person, yet I still attend weddings, for example. I don’t say that attending the wedding is bad because I don’t agree with religion. It is but one facet of the ceremony.

    You may think I am being facetious, but I am being serious.

    If you go to a ceremony and you don’t support what is being said or done, your presence is not showing your approval. You could be there for many reasons – to show respect for the dead who died in a sad war which shouldn’t have happened, for example. A friend of mine doesn’t agree with the ceremony at all, yet she still attends to support her grandfather. I don’t look at her and assume that she is pro-war. Some people might, sure.

    But, really, who cares what other people think?

    “History’s greatest scandal”? Call it what you like, but if you go to a ceremony for the right reasons, you are not condoning the “scandal” at all.

    As for your own personal observance, congratulations. I am proud you have found a way to express your feelings. However, were I to take your stance on the matter of ANZAC day, perhaps it would be possible for me to find ways to condemn you on your on observances. For example, and please excuse my insensitivity here, which is for demonstrational purposes, it may be that I could say that your reading of “war literature” (no matter how anti-war the literature may be) on ANZAC day suggested a tolerance for the by-products of war. Now, again, apologies for that remark, and I do not believe it at all.

    But this is key. The reason so many people are disgusted and disappointed with the Exec’s decision is because the Exec has CONDEMNED the manner in which MANY of their constituents choose to observe this day.

    Can you understand how this raises people’s ire and makes them full of abuse? VUWSA has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of their observance, but actually CONDEMNED it. This is why students are against your position.

    “As elected representatives, without a clear mandate from students on certain issues, all we can do is make the best decisions we can. I do not attend Dawn Parades, so it would be illogical for me to support my students’ association laying a wreath at one. I do not believe that laying a wreath is ‘pro-war.’ I do not believe that attending a Dawn Parade is ‘condoning war.’ I believe that Dawn Parades often promote wrong ideas about the role of the Anzacs in WWI, so I don’t attend them. I believe people should be free to commemorate the day as they choose, and that it would be irresponsible for me to support VUWSA laying a wreath, when I would never lay a wreath. If my Executive out-voted me, I would respect their decisions.”

    This is where things get trickier. Your statements here are personal. What the anger is about, is comments from other people on the Exec. Quote: “There’s no point in placing a wreath if it has nothing to do with students,”. Sure, fine. But be consistent.

    Here’s another quote. “I took this understanding of my role into my advocacy and support of the cleaners’ lockout by Spotless Services. The cleaners locked out were largely women in their 40’s with little tertiary education. It was important to them that a small group of university students were with them almost every day of their struggle in support of their cause. It is an important link to make, that the university and students are part of society.”

    Who said that, I wonder?

    That was an direct quote from the 2007 VUWSA Annual report, from no less than last year’s VUWSA President Joel Cosgrove(at the time he was EVP). As we all know, Cosgrove and current President Freemantle are both members of the Worker’s Party.

    So here’s what unfortunately looks like to me. On one hand, the Exec can do what it wants with no mandate from the students, and is a “part of society”, but on the other, when some members decide to disagree, they “don’t have a mandate”. Did VUWSA ever have a mandate to stand up for the rights of people who hadn’t paid their compulsory fees? I don’t think so.

    I believe this is the point where the VUWSA stance begins to fall apart, so I don’t really wish to continue along these lines. Those who have read so far can hopefully draw their own conclusion about the flimsiness of what I consider to be VUWSA’s ‘excuse’.

    Karin I think laying a belated wreath is a really positive initiative. If VUWSA put the issue to an SRC and students voted for it, it would of course be officially mandated by us.

    So, to conclude, what it really seems to be is this.
    “We will do what you want us to, but only we if receive an offical mandate and students voted for it. If the issue was not brought to an SRC then we will just leave it and continue our way. If we have to, though, we’ll do it grudgingly”.

    All in all I am disgusted with VUWSA’s weak excuse. I applaud Freya and Sam for fronting up and sharing their views, but I believe your views are (a) pushing your own personal agendas and (b) not serving the students you were elected to serve.

    And it’s now 2.40am, and I’m going to bed. I’m not going to proofread so just hit me with all the bad grammar and spelling mistakes you can find, everyone.
    Gib

    PS:
    One last thing.
    Could an Executive member please reply to my questions dated 26th April at 1.11am: “Does VUWSA believe that students should be forced to be a member of its association? If so, how can VUWSA continue to accept student’s money each year, when, to quote Freya Eng, “some students may not feel the same way”?”

    I hope that when the Exec recognises that their attitude toward CSM and ANZAC Day are similar, they will likewise push a related motion at a future SRC.

    Disclaimer: I am not and never have been an active member of any group wanting any change to the way VUWSA operates.

  125. KBN says:

    One of the best uproars over VUWSA since any current student can remember usually its just a hole into which we pour $140.00 a year. Students are really getting their fees worth this year. It is ignorant however to take the view of ANZAC day as some form of pro-war propaganda. It is widely publicised as a day of rememberence for those who sacraficed their lives during these horrific conflict. Lest we forget the terrible actions of our history and enter into them again.

  126. Brendon says:

    I am a Victoria graduate who has lost family members in both world wars and would like to express my absolute disgust at VUWSA’s recent actions.

    VUWSA has never attempted to represent the views of the average student and has always been a club for aspiring Labour Party wannabes and Marxists. The only reason why it still exists is because its membership is compulsary.

    ANZAC Day has never been about supporting war, to even attempt to draw such a nexus demonstrates ignorance of the highest order. I can imagine that none of the VUWSA “exec” who came to this decision know the meaning of sacrifice, let alone the ultimate one. I would not be surprised if this was just an excuse for these late-rising slackers to not have to get up for the dawn service.

  127. Claire says:

    Get some respect, learn some history, go and talk to some ex servicemen who fought because they had to – to protect the freedom that YOU have today – you have no perspective whatsoever (and very obviously no mandate). Do some travel, visit Auschwitz and Gallipoli, you will realise there were some things worth fighting for, It is appalling to me that you would show such blatant disrespect to the fallen because you have the inability to differentiate between something recent like Iraq, and earlier wars where New Zealand made such a massive contribution.

  128. Stefan says:

    Vice President of Education, Freya Eng, expressed concern for the association’s reputation.
    “I don’t want to look like we support war at all,” she said.

    What a tool, an embarrassment to the Exec, comments like that just make the whole VUWSA organisation more of a joke…

    I’m embarrassed to be called a VUW Graduate.

  129. Claire says:

    And one further comment, it is NO less valid just because “New Zealand was never under direct threat”, – is freedom any less valid just because its not New Zealands?? wake up.

  130. Tim says:

    To think ANZAC day is glorifying war is absurd. I mean really, grow up. Pull your own heads out of your own asses and go start an anti-war group. Insensitive naive fucks.

    It is about remembering those served their country and sacrificed so much and irrespective of the politics involved. To me it is also too about remembering the horrors of war and lessons learn so as not to repeat them.

    It is much about glorifying war as eating an Eskimo lolly is about eating a Inuit.

    Lest we forget

  131. Colin Sharp says:

    It is groups like yours that deny the ‘Holocaust’. I never attended university and if it has many groups of people who think like you, I have certainly not missed out on anything. I cannot believe your defensive statments are the true reasons behind your decision. Shame on all of you who supported this action.

  132. Penny Baines says:

    I am embarrassed to be a Victoria Student.
    The actions of the VUWSA are absolutely disgraceful. How can you treat the memory of those soldier who died for us with such disrespect? Our grandfathers and great grandfathers fought in that war to protect us from the dangers that were occurring in Europe. You have just thrown their sacrifices back in their face. If you had lain the wreath on ANZAC day you would have had the support of the majority of the student body. I mistakenly though that the VUWSA represented the majority of students not the minority.

  133. What the... says:

    I’m not even a student at Vic, I am doing Defence Studies at Massey in Palmy, but I read about this ridiculous “opinion” on Stuff.

    I’ve been called some awful things for studying what I do, and yes I do want to be in the military, and yes I am aware that their sole function is to provide force for when policy has failed. But guess what. POLICY DOES FAIL. At least this way there will be someone to cover your ass when someone else really wants to have a go. Just like the ANZACs were there to cover our ass back then.

    Have some respect, learn something about your country and why you get to say a bunch of BOLLOCKS like this.

    “”I don’t want to look like we support war at all,” vice-president of education Freya Eng said.

    More than 290 Victoria University students were believed to have been killed in World War 2.

    Ms Eng later responded to attacks on her by saying she did not mean to “imply” she did not respect the fallen.

    “My own relatives were involved. I wholeheartedly respect and am grateful for the service men and women who have served for our freedom,” she said.

    “I respect that you support Anzac Day as a day of remembrance and patriotism, and I feel similarly, but some students may not feel the same way, and their view needs to be heard also.””

    Well guess who died to reserve you that right? The very people you won’t honour because of your ignorant, small-minded bigotry. And if you really respected them, and were grateful then you would lay a freaking wreath at the ceremony and not only that, realise its an honour.

    LEST WE FORGET (for those who have forgotten)

  134. M says:

    I am appalled this group of people represent the student (past and present) of Victoria University. This decision was selfish.

  135. Iamcam says:

    How do I have my degree changed to another university? I no longer want to be associated with VUW.

    Embarrassed

  136. Laura D says:

    I found out about this via Yahoo!!! I couldn’t believe my eyes, what I read, that VUWSA not only rejected laying a wreath they then claimed that doing this would be like Victoria students condoning war!!!! ANZAC Day is commemorative! To those who have fallen fighting to allow us to have the freedom we have today! Saying that it has no relevance to vic students today is appalling! We have family members from not so distant a past that fought and died for us or lived and keep living in testament to what happened! I am ashamed and offended by these actions as are many of my peers.

    To the elite few who made this decision, you have placed our entire university into public ridicule, we are now being criticized for being disrespectful unpatriotic immature and small minded. You say that the view of ANZAC Day does not serve all the students feelings, did you bother to ask us how we felt? Did you bother to ask us if we were proud and thankful for what all those young men did for us, in reality, not so many years ago? No.

    Think and poll before you take action VUWSA you have offended many, belittled some and ashamed most of the student population of Victoria University.

  137. Emma says:

    Agree, totally happy to be a Canterbury student. Well done Victoria Students Association- you made me realise I made the right decision in spending my 5 years down here! At least our students association listens to us, and doesn’t make stupid decisions without consultation.
    Unite Vic Students- ensure this stupidity doesn’t happen again, and I hope you vote wisely this year!

  138. Christopher says:

    I read about this in the Dominion this morning. I have no affiliations with Victoria University. It’s definitely bad form a decision was made by a representitive of students interests without consulting them. Especially when money from students is used by these so called “Students Association” nitwits. From my time at university they were kind of nerdy and were just using the Association as a means of socialising anyway. I mean who wants to hang out at university any more than one would have to? Oh thats right – students association members… Personally I think anybody who thinks Anzac Day condones war is a fool, and I get really angry when anybody tries to protest on that day. You can have any other day in the year by me, but Anzac is verging on sacred. Have these people said anything about it on any other day? Well then how dedicated to this particular protest are they? Out of respect for other New Zealander’s, protests should have been made prior to the actual event. I sympathise students having to even contemplate this stupidity.

  139. VUWSA sucks says:

    A total embarasssment when a student executive I assume voted on by the student body makes such a dense decision. No amount of complete bollocks around how this wasn’t anti fallen hero’s, and was about “an anti war stance” is merely trying to cover up a fur lined ocean going right royal cock up. If I was a current student I’d be asking for the president to quit. In fact the president should offer their resignation and back out with some dignity.

  140. Sara says:

    VUWSA should be ashamed of themselves. I am disgusted at their bullshit justification for not laying a wreath. When was ANZAC Day about condoning war??? Such a selfish decision to make. Im embarassed.
    I want my fees back, I dont want to give money to those idiots on the exec.

  141. Ben says:

    I think it is about time that the VUWSA exec become responsible for the decisions that they make. I completely agree with Robbo in the fact that they (the executive) should not be making personal decisions that will affect us the students and that will represent the students as a whole to the public.
    Impeachment comes to mind when thinking of the present exec. It is about time that an exec is voted in that is going to represent the student body and not their own political agendas. In the time I have been here at Victoria the VUWSA execs have a number of times embarassed the student body with their individual actions and have represented themselves to the media post action as a member of the executive. STOP IT. By the comments here, you the executives have not listened to your students. You have neglected to represent us and it is time that you faced the consequences of your actions.
    If anyone agrees with this I ask you to seriously think about what we can do. I would suggest that we need to clean up the mess that has been splashed through the media. We should come together and advertise to the general public firstly that Victoria is a proud Uni and we are all ashamed of decisions made by a flawed VUWSA exec, and that secondly that we are sorry if they have offended anyone. We then need to deal with the exec itself by way of re-election.

  142. BK says:

    If ANZAC day is only about commemorating the dead and has no relation to commemorating and glorifying war then perhaps a change of name should be considered? I have relatives who died during ‘The Great War’ and know that they were/are greatly missed by all their friends and family. I do not find it necessary to attend a public gathering and lay some tacky looking flowers on a concrete monument to remember them. Perhaps some of the time and money spent on organising these memorials could be used to improve the elderly care that in some cases is appalling and is where many of our living war veterans now reside.

  143. ashamed says:

    Gibbon i am loving you rant/reply and i find it funny that no VUWSA member has had an adequate response defending their postion, or an apology saying sorry guys we fucked up. VUWSA is all about there own personal gains and ideaologies. Unfortunatly for the Vuwsa members real polotics isnt like that and it is going to be hard for you to impose your Comrade Stalin ways of getting your way.

    But hey if you ignore the issue long enough it will go away right? isnt that how polotics works? – unfortunatly no VUWSA front the fuck up.

  144. Mike says:

    Firstly, VUWSA never has, doesn’t & never will represent me and given a choice I wouldn’t give you a bean. That’s why fees are compulsory because given a choice the students would speak and you would have as much funding as the “Victoria Nationalist Socialist Party”.

    I don’t have a problem with VUWSA not laying a wreath given the broad spectrum of opinions & beliefs on campus…that’s democracy. What I do have a problem is where VUWSA spokespeople pass off their personal beliefs as those of the student body.

    Like Peace Group Aoteoroa burning the flag two years ago on ANZAC day this will do your cause more harm than good. Fight the good fight in the name of peace but don’t mess with ANZAC Day. Too many young men (and woman) paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms you enjoy now.

  145. neil furby says:

    I totally support the actions taken by VUWSA for not taking up the offer to lay a wreath at the Dawn Parade. War should be condemned at any opportunity and ANZAC Day gives an opportunity for people to publically renounce war.

    Yes the first world war happened and all the other wars since and people died tragic deaths,but to ensure future generations are not going to be involved in the nightmare called war Youth must say No More .. You have to leave sentiment and family history behind put your peace flags on the sticking place .and make a change .
    Now is the time

  146. Laura McQuillan says:

    You guys say VUWSA doesn’t represent you, but the fact is, they do. Under the current system, CSM, you choose the exec you want. If you want change, vote. If you want VSM, join ACT on Campus so they can finally get more than four people pushing for it.

    The exec members elected year after year just seem to be the same, with different names. If you want change, don’t just write about it on the Salient website. Start a Facebook group, write an article for Salient on it, email Peter McCaffrey – even better, email the executive and tell them how they can better represent you.

  147. Simon Dunkerley says:

    I think it’s about time the VUWSA Exec did some growing up. This is nothing more than a publicity stunt and you couldn’t have chosen a more inappropriate stage to carry it out. As a former student of the University I feel embarrassed by the behaviour that this body has undertaken over the past few years and this particular move tops the lot. It’s an absolute joke that you represent the students of this university when you continue in a way that astounds most of the student body. Your latest actions are extremely disrespectful and ignorant, and such a stance questions not only your standing as VUWSA Exec members, but also as human beings. A good hard look at yourselves is in order, along with an apology to those you have directly offended with your stance and also to the student body for your abject failure as their “representatives”.

  148. sam says:

    Im not even going to bother tainting my opinion by reading the other comments, even though I am sure they do not support VUWSA’s decision. All I can say is VUWSA presidents are always crap because hardly any descent candidates ever run for the role. The majority of students do not even vote in the elections so Jasmine freemantle is not a true representative.

  149. Jeremy says:

    What an Absolutely stupidly Brain Dead Student President who is Politically irrelevant to student politics.

    The Student President is meant to represent the students in case she has forgotten this. You dont represent yourself or your own political views.

    The vast no of student who are members of New Zealand Defense Force in shape, form or fashion and the greater number of students who are former members of the New Zealand Defence Force.

    This student president fails to recognise the fact of the huge scale of scale of students who were absolutely made ropeable by the statement

    I wouldnt be suprise if once identified the student president isnt given an absolute serious verbal bollocking at her absolute insensitivity and stupidity.

    There have been a huge no of former VUW Students associations that have actively supported our current and former service personnell. I am absolutely irritated at the absolute stupendous stupidity of the student executive who allowed this motion to go through.

    The Political legitimacy of the Students Association is at an all time low. Have you ever wondered why people are not interested in student politics and not interested in reading Salient. Its because of the absolute stupid idiots that pretend to try and represent us.

    It was these people on the different battlefields around the world that shed their blood, so that this idiot woman activist could have a voice.

    This woman needs a serious WAKEUP CALL.

    YOU MARXIST IDIOT

  150. snarkle says:

    I don’t know why that stupid woman Freya Eng even bothers opening her mouth. What an idiot!

  151. Mike says:

    Neil Furby…

    You are denying a village of an idiot.

  152. Jeremy says:

    On the case of the above ANZAC Issue, one questions why a University Lecturer, such as the student president and the Whole VUW Exec dont do something useful for the students, and stop offending students by their stupid comments.

    One thing is that this current idiot President and her exec staff need to realise is that although they take our money, what useful stuff do we get in return ??? Bugger all. Except for stupid Student Presidents.

    WHY IS A UNIVERSITY LECTURER A STUDENT PRESIDENT ? IS THIS NOT A CONFLICT OF INTEREST TO ALL STUDENTS ???

    THIS STUDENT PRESIDENT HAS A MAJJOR CASE OF FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE.

  153. sam says:

    What is she a lecturer of?

  154. Jimothy says:

    she resigned from her role in the gender studies department before taking over as vuwsa pres and that role’s been disestablished anyway.

  155. neil furby says:

    Mike This attack on the President demonstrates the the knee jerk reaction and emotive double speak which causes War. If I am an idiot so be it

  156. Stefan says:

    It doesn’t matter if there’s no “official mandate” for students to recognise ANZAC day. The student body as a whole is a part of the wider community of this country and therefore recognises ANZAC day.

    We’ve had students serve in the armed forces of this country and indeed during the major conflicts of the last century which is reason enough for VUWSA to recognise it on behalf of the students. VUWSA saying it doesn’t want to arbitrarily observe the event and that somehow laying a commemorative wreath condones war is insanely ignorant and utterly idiotic. I propose a coup.

  157. Paulo says:

    To the President

    Laying a reef on ANZAC day is no more a glorifaction of war as Firestations flying flags at halfmast on September 11 is a glorification of Terrorism.

    What next, discourage the wearing of white ribbons because it glorifies domestic violence.

    I’m a young granddad and not a particularly well educated one but if having a tertiary education means you park your common sense in the foyer in favor of sounding like a spoiled know-all then I havent missed a thing.

    Until you grow up a little, all you have is opinion. You have no life-experience other than what you read out of a text book, or a blog or someone elses thoughts you might plagirise from the contriversal movie of the week.

    My Grandson is at Vic. He doesnt know where the far-queue got this idea from. You embarrassed yourself, the people you claim to represent, and the fine learning institution you attend.

    I’ve never been more embarrassed by our youth : (

  158. Joe says:

    How on earth does laying a wreath of remembrance condone war?
    It does the opposite, it reminds us of the stupidity of war, I am sure you know all about stupidity.

    I am incredibly embarrassed by this bizarre decision taken by an organization which is meant to ‘represent’ our community. We pay you money you fools.

    High-profile decisions like this may actually make the majority of us actually get up and take an interest in your association, when that happens your waste of space executive might get a shock.

  159. Jeremy says:

    I applaud the decision of the executive to actually bother getting the opinions of students before acting out. As a representative of University students, the exec have to ensure that what they are saying is truly representative. There is an awful history of VUWSA making social comments or participating in actions which some students don’t condone- I am sure at the next student meeting, VUWSA will receive the mandate to honour our fallen soldiers on Anzac day, but until then ka pai for considering the voice of students. If only the Wellington council could have given extensive notice in the invitation and not only asked a couple days before- then the student voice would have been acted on. Ka Pai Jasmine.

  160. Sandra Holland says:

    The Student President is meant to represent the students and not her own political ideals, that is why she decided to follow proper process in this matter. Seeking the views and opinions of the student body should always be done and we often complain when our exec dont do this. I am sure most of us appreciate the meaning and significance of Anzac day, but some do not and we have to honour that in a free and democratic society all can express their view. Once a mandate comes from the students then it is appropriate to act and be involved in Anzac day, but until that mandate is given VUWSA should restrain from make social comments and acting as a voice of students without their knowledge.

  161. Gregory says:

    Didn’t VUWSA use to burn flags and lay Anti-Wreaths on ANZAC day… this is why seeking the student views is so vital, to avoid shit like that. It should be up to students to vote if and how they want to be represented in the ANZAC services. Congrats to VUWSA for wanting to listen to the students.

  162. Jeremy says:

    To Mike, this maybe a Kneejerk reaction, but it is a reaction to an absolutely appaling student President who has no idea, about the world she lives in and the realities of the people that she claims to represent.

    With out the dialectioal referencing to double speak.

    What l am saying is that l and many others are appalled by this student president who should know far better than this.

    She may be doing a doctorate in Gender – Womans studies, but that doesnt mean that she has any commonsense intelligence or respect for those Men and Woman who do an absolutely fine job internationally, like our troops in Afghanistan and other areas of the world who do an absolutely outstanding job as New Zealanders.

    The thing that is a great offence to many students on campus who pay students association fees which funds the income of all the paid staff at the Students Association, who are meant to represent all the students, of which some are current members or former members of the New Zealand Defence Force.

    My point is it extremely offensive in the extreme for a Student President and the Executive to come out say that this “condones war” and that there is no student mandate.

    To those of us who are current members or former members of the New Zealand Defence force, this is absolutely nonsense.

    To back up my position in the article that is in todays Dominion Post and Salient from a former student president for whom l have great respect for his comments is that even he is appalled of these comments.

    To say that my comments or others comments cause war is an absolute load of crap.

    Governments foreign policies bring about war. It was Karl Marx that went to Paris and caused about 5000 people to loose their lives by stirring up trouble there. He was banned from many other nations because he went to those countries and caused a great deal of trouble for different governments.

    My final point is that the student president and the executive are being strongly rebuked because of their actions, that is what they said, when they are meant to reprsenting members of a group in this case the Students Association and more specifically members who are former or current members of the New Zealand Defence Force.

    If you say such stuff and you hold a position as that of a President or an Executive member for whom you are meant to be representing, no matter what polical ideology you may personally hold, then you are going to be rebuke for it.

    In any country, the defence force is the blunt end of that governments foreign policy.

    I have been to many Dawn Parades, over many years and never have l seen such absolute nonsense anc crap from some one holding a position who should know better.

    Or does this person who holds the title of Student President who is currently completing her Phd mean that instead of becoming more intelligent, has in actual fact become even more stupid than when she started her doctorate.

    Her comments and that of the Executive for whom the student president is doctoral student is an insult to every doctoral student of stupidity instead of intelligence.

    If the student president wants to act like an idiot and an embicile then expect to be treated as such. [Edited. JJW]

    The actions of this woman and the executive show how stupid they are and brings the Victoria University of Wellington students association into disrepute, why would some one want to go to a University whose students association is run by absolute idiots who have no idea of the real world, and the sacrifices of previous nobel students who fought in previous conflicts.

    Other students associations like Otago University in Wellington, have far more superior Student Association staff who are worth listening to, as opposed to those of Victoria University’s Student Association.

    Mike This attack on the President demonstrates the the knee jerk reaction and emotive double speak which causes War. If I am an idiot so be it

  163. JC says:

    Sandra – “Once a mandate comes from the students then it is appropriate to act” – i see where you are coming from here but i think you have it the wrong way around. the student association has been laying wreaths since Anzac day was first commemorated. Shouldn’t the exec have tried to get a mandate to not lay a wreath otherwise maintain the staus quo.

    Overall i am disappointed by the shortsighted nature of the exec with regards to this issue. VUWSA is supposed to represent the whole student body and, as such, should have properly considered the various opinions of its members. Yes, some people consider Anzac day to be condoning war. However, others view it as an opportunity to pay their respects; to remember the fallen or support members of their family etc.

    Surely laying a wreath with a message similar to: “to remember those killed in war in a hope to avoid future wars” would have avoided the current furore while not condoning war.

  164. Jeremy Compton says:

    To Sandra and Jeremy, they didnt get my opinion or those of other students who have been former members of the New Zealand Defence force who would also be appalled by their statements.

    So before you claim you have done this, which l disagree with, get it really right, not just playing stupid little ideological games, which play to Marxist ideologies.

    We all hold different Political Ideologies. My point here is that by the mere fact of the Office of Student President and the Office of Executive, doesnot give you license to say such ludricrous and absolutely stupid nonsense l have ever heard from any student president for many years.

    My point is dont go making statements for a group of people whom dont agree with you.

    An example would be the leader of the Muslim community of New Zealand. At no time have l heard him say stupid stuff. I have always heard him say well reasoned and sensible stuff.

  165. Jeremy Compton says:

    If the Student President and the Executive dont wake up then the student body for whom they are meant to represent will hold a REVOLUTION AND THE SCOUNDRELS will be thrown out of office as the students will have woken up from their slumber and decide to take an interest in the nonsense of the current student politics

  166. sam says:

    Let hope Ms Freemantle does not become a Minister of Government , however I have a funny feeling she will! after all Incompetency is acceptable

  167. Tim Edwards says:

    Dave – ‘you’re all fodder to the war mongers you seek to support. No one cares about you, other than the VUWSA exec who want to draw a line in the sand.’

    What about ANZAC day supports war-mongering. I doubt any of those

    Westcoaster – ‘The wars are in support of a colonial past that no longer represents the makeup of Australian or New Zealand society… I am proud that the university I attended in the 1970s still has the integrity to stand up against this outdated nonsense!’

    It is history, which we learn from and don’t ignore because it is past. There may have been a colonial element, but at least it was ‘doing something’, not sitting back. Integrity? Where, in deciding to use their own personal ideals as representative of the population?

    Sam – ‘At no time during WWI was New Zealand under threat of invasion…The argument that Anzacs died for democracy isn’t even worth passing comment on.

    And what would have happened of the wrong side won, how long would NZ have lasted? Even if it wasn’t for NZ’s democracy, you think the country should have just said ‘oh, noting to do with us’…you support not stepping in to help or calling the police when you see someone breaking into a house, or beating up a smaller person, or hit by a bus?

    Andrew – ‘Did it ever occur to some of you outraged furies that there are others who agree with this move?’

    Clearly there are a handful. And their views have a right to be heard – not to become the overall view of the main population.,

    Neil – ‘War should be condemned at any opportunity and ANZAC Day gives an opportunity for people to publically renounce war… leave sentiment and family history behind put your peace flags on the sticking place .and make a change’

    No, every other day is the time. ANZAC day is to remember, to be human, to have sentiment.

  168. Tim Edwards says:

    Don’t know why half a sentence dissapeared at the start of the last post
    Dave – ‘you’re all fodder to the war mongers you seek to support. No one cares about you, other than the VUWSA exec who want to draw a line in the sand.’
    What about ANZAC day supports war-mongering. I doubt any of those who dies actually were there to start a war.

  169. My forefathers died on the fields of Gallipoli to secure the freedoms us New Zealanders enjoy today. ANZAC Day should not be about politics or opinions or mandates but a chance to commemorate those New Zealanders who rose to the call.

    Lest we Forget

    And Jasmine Freemantle- your despicable actions will not be forgotten.

  170. I would just like to squeeze in here and make a correction to both this and the print article.

    Both articles incorrectly state that VUWSA was present at the last five ANZAC Day commemorations. VUWSA was not present in 2006 under the presidency of Nick Kelly.

    Thanks,
    Michael Oliver
    Salient News Editor

  171. Matthew_Cunningham says:

    I’ve hesitated against getting involved in this ongoing stream of vitriole thus far, but at almost 200 posts this has gone on long enough. Whilst the likelihood of anyone even reading individual posts at this point is unlikely, I hope that some of the emotionally charged members of the public and the student body will read this before embarking upon a post full of insults and outage.

    Firstly and foremostly, I in no way intend to denigrate the members of the Armed Services who have served bravely in various fields of combat over the course of this nation’s history. To fight and die for one’s country, irrespective of national political cause, is one of the greatest sacrifices any man or woman can make in their lifetime, and I have nothing but respect for those who have done so. Like most who have posted thus far, I too have had family members who have participated in some of the major conflicts of the twentieth century, and their sheer humbleness and grace in the face of their huge personal sacrifices has never ceased to amaze me.

    It is in this vein that I disagree with VUWSA’s choice not to lay a wreath at the ANZAC memorial this year. However, in saying that, I simply do not believe that this action represents a disrespectful or downright sinister motive on VUWSA’s part. Quite simply, this whole incident has been a case of political correctness and exec accountability gone wrong. In refusing to place a wreath at the memorial due to the lack of a student mandate, Jasmine and the exec were merely following through on her campaign promise of accountability and transparency to the student body. Whilst in this instance it has gone horribly wrong, I cannot fault them for their motives. Certainly, the majority of the student body WOULD have supported a wreath in some form – however, this does not contradict the exec’s desire to maintain its commitment to accountability and transparency.

    Now before anyone accuses me of pandering or favouring the exec, let it be known that I was one of the first to oppose Jasmine’s candidacy last year. I felt that many of her positions were misleading and ideologically motivated, and I openly stated that on the Salient forums. However, since the beginning of her tenure this year I have been very impressed by the focus on professionality and accountability that both Jasmine and the exec have exhibited, and I have openly stated this as well. Whilst I have disagreed with some of her positions (Salient funding and the appropriation of the Change Proposal chief amongst them), overall I have nothing but praise for the sheer volume and quality of work that she, and the exec, have been doing.

    I am dissapointed by the unmitigated and almost violent name-calling and hate-mongering that some of the posters on this board have expressed. I, too, completely and wholeheartedly disagree with the assertion that ANZAC Day promotes war, but that does not mean I will go on a personal tyrade against Alexander Nielson or Freya Eng. If anything, Freya’s counterpost was, I felt, thoughtful and rational, and neither she nor any of the other exec members deserves to be slandered in the fashion that some have chosen to do in response to this story. To personally attack the motives, intelligence, and overall leadership of individual exec members over one political misstep (however serious it was) is unfair and unrepresentative of their cumulative efforts this year.

    To those who have genuinely expressed their disagreement and dissapointment with the exec stance over this issue without resorting to name calling, I am not directing this post at you. ANZAC Day is indeed an emotive occasion, and I applaud you for not lowering yourself to the level of outright censure that others have.

    If anything, this whole debacle should demonstrate to us that we live in a country where events like ANZAC Day should allow for multiple interpretations without resulting in persecution and condemnation. I don’t think any of us (VUWSA included) hold anything other than the deepest respect for the veterans of this nation’s wars, but that does not mean we cannot draw separate conclusions on the meaning of ANZAC Day itself. I personally feel that the ‘myth’ of the ANZAC soldier is unrepresentative of all of those who have participated in some form in national conflicts – including women, conscientious objectors, as well as the various conflicts against the Indigenous populations of both Australia and New Zealand in the 19th Century that should also rightfully be classified as national conflicts. Does that mean that I, too, will be shouted down as ‘ignorant’ and ‘unpatriotic’ by angry objectors claiming to hold a monopoly over the interpretation of what ANZAC Day ‘really’ means?

    Anyway, that is my two cents. Hopefully those directed to this site by the various press reports around the country will read this before spilling a liberal dose of their outrage across the message boards.

    Matt.

  172. John says:

    Noone wants to have a war especially the soldiers!!! But when wars comes your way and threatens your peace and safety, there is really no other choice but to fight. 250 former students gave their lives these wars because they were protecting the country, their families and our way of life. We live in peace and safety and have a decent living. This is an insult to our men and women who are brave enough to fight for those who couldn’t fight.

    Once a year and a small fee of laying a wreath to have show public support for soldiers who are our countries defence is now deem unnecessary??!! We have a defence force because of national security threats to the country. If there is peace in the world, that would be the day we would no longer need a defence, but there will and should always be a memorial for those who given their lives so that we can have peace and safety.

    Whenever there is war, noone wins but the creditors of the war funds.

    Shame, shame shame on you VUWSA.

  173. Kerry says:

    I can’t condone the abuse that’s being spouted by people on here. However, as a former VUWSA Exec member I do think that that this was an incredibly bad decision. I know how hard you work and for very little money or respect. However, you have chosen to do this and on your own head be it. You put your personal ideologies before thinking about what would be best for students. You have also opened a can of worms – voluntary student membership. Have fun with that.

    And to all those people going on about imperialism and the Land Wars – I’m a British/Kiwi dual citizen and I’m extremely proud of my British heritage. Nothing you can say will make me think badly of Britain in the 1800s. The Spanish and Protuguese were far more awful to their colonies. How about you stop spouting the communist drivel you have been brainwashed with and read books from all perspectives.

  174. anon says:

    This whole story is a sham. There are some very serious issues going on at the University – why the hell does any of this really matter at all? Outrageous… but interesting to see how trivial people at this university are getting. There are cuts to tutorials and lectures all over campus and yet this is effectively Salient’s top story this issue and your all falling for it or actually taking it seriously – what a joke.

  175. hello friend says:

    a lot of what’s going on in the university right now involves a lot of tricky contractual stuff which is difficult to report on

    or maybe ur just dumb

  176. John Edmundson says:

    “Toussaint L’Ouverture” writes (vastly more civilly than many on this thread):
    “My forefathers died on the fields of Gallipoli to secure the freedoms us New Zealanders enjoy today. ANZAC Day should not be about politics or opinions or mandates but a chance to commemorate those New Zealanders who rose to the call.”

    It is ironic that one who writes under the pen name of one of the greatest anti-imperialist martyrs of the 19th Century sees no irony in what s/he writes. ANZAC soldiers who signed up and fought at Gallipoli were not fighting to “secure” any “freedoms”. Sadly they were fighting for King and Empire. That was how they were recruited and unfortunately that’s what most of them believed in. WWI was not fought for “freedom”. If it had been about freedom, New Zealand wouldn’t have taken the opportunity to seize Samoa and subsequently shoot independence demonstrators. Australia wouldn’t have taken the opportunity to grab Papua New Guinea. Britain and France wouldn’t have carved up the Ottoman Empire between themselves. The list goes on. “Freedom” was far from the minds of the Imperial powers on either side of the trenches in WWI. Britain hadn’t even introduced universal suffrage for men, let alone women. And the Gallipoli campaign was about shipping guns to the Czar, whose army was being used to repress the Russian people; hardly a bold strike for freedom. I’d love to be able to think of my ancestors having gone away to fight for freedom, but I’d be kidding myself. They went away to war for all the wrong reasons.

    Unfortunately ANZAC Day will always be about politics because as others have noted, it is politics that causes war. Until it is possible to genuinely see ANZAC Day as a time to remember all the victims of war in a way that builds towards a world without war, it will be loaded. The very fact that posters here with connections to the military see ANZAC Day as in some way theirs, and insist that VUWSA should lay a wreath simply because some past Vic students died in wars makes the political nature of ANZAC Day plain. And ANZAC Day has always been controversial. From its beginnings it was boycotted by some WWI veterans who saw it as a glorification of what they knew to be a hell on Earth. The old jingoism is largely absent these days, replaced by a kind of endlessly recurring funeral service, but it is still intensely political.
    Cheers,
    John

  177. Henry says:

    Your Student Association has managed to offend a large proportion of the population, and possibly a large number of the students they were elected to represent. A shame really as they seem to have rediscovered an old and very outdated view of ANZAC day – its not a celebration of war but a rememberance of lives lost.

    ‘Lest We Forget’ indeed.

  178. anon says:

    To ‘Hello Friend':

    The point is, the ANZAC issue is NOT a newsworthy story in the current climate. There are actual student related matters that are serious. The student paper should be using its resources (paid for by students) responisbly. Do your job properly or be dissolved.

  179. Matthew_Cunningham says:

    Kerry:
    “And to all those people going on about imperialism and the Land Wars – I’m a British/Kiwi dual citizen and I’m extremely proud of my British heritage. Nothing you can say will make me think badly of Britain in the 1800s. The Spanish and Protuguese were far more awful to their colonies. How about you stop spouting the communist drivel you have been brainwashed with and read books from all perspectives.”

    Not to get of topic, but aren’t you the same Kerry who once said the following about the Operation 8 raids:

    “I am ashamed to be a 7th generation pakeha New Zealander, that this was done and publicised as some kind of attempt to keep my country safe for nice, white, liberal ‘non-terrorist’ citizens, when a definition of domestic terrorism didn’t even exist in our law (as stated by the Solicitor-General in his decision handed down November 8th, 2007).
    I am embarrassed to be a graduate of VUW, where I was taught Tuhoetanga as part of my first year Maaori language courses, by Pou Temara of Ngaai Tuuhoe at Te Herenga Waka Marae, where I, tau iwi, am considered tangata whenua; where I first learnt the meaning of Tino Rangatiratanga, where I first understood the great injustice done by the mistranslation into Maaori of the articles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
    But Tuuhoe never signed the Treaty.
    Their lands were confiscated, by Act of Parliament, time and time again. (1863, 1916 … )
    And I will continue to fight for this unjust case to be dismissed for all the arrestees, [including] my pakeha and maaori anarchist and environmental activist friends”

    Apologies if you are a different Kerry.

    Cheers,
    Matt.

  180. Seriousj says:

    TO HELLO FRIEND
    Regarding “Contractual stuff”

    Piffle.

  181. anon says:

    BTW “Hello Freind”:

    Having to resort to stating that university issues are “difficult to report on” implies that Salient’s writers may be unskilled and/or lazy. I didn’t understand the ‘dumb’ comment. Did you mean unitelligent or without the ability to speak?

  182. Jessica says:

    A general call for Jasmine Freemantle’s resignation seems appropriate in the current circumstance. In this thoughtless and irresponsible action, Freemantle has shown New Zealand and the world that VUWSA’s reasoning skills and sense of public etiquette are in severe need of education beyond the scope of their grasp. This blatant disregard for a traditional ceremony which does not celebrate war but commemorates the many cherished New Zealand who fell in combat sends a message of ignorance to the general public. This is a blight on Victoria’s reputation, the weight of which must be carried by current students.

    The pathetic excuse of not wanting to condone war not only undermines New Zealand’s global efforts with peacekeeping and combat worldwide, but also shows a greenpeace-esque, rose-coloured-glasses view of the world in which we live. Jasmine Freemantle and Freya Eng, you wonderful airheads…I would find it more forgivable if you declined the invitation because of a desperate desire to fulfill your beauty sleep quota. With respect, grow up girlies. Front up to the fact that you fucked up big time.

    Respectfully,

    Someone who knows your Mum is disappointed in you!

  183. I’m not one to comment outside of a nerdy administrative “Hurr, comments closed” or “Salient would like to note…” capacity (well, not this year at least), but the concerns about the level of coverage about university cutbacks is something I’d just like to quickly address.

    It’s something we’re keeping a very, very close eye on—but it’s not something we want to halfass either.

    It’s your education, you’re paying out the ass for it, and you deserve to have the full resources of your student magazine working on it. However, this kind of inquiry does take time, just because we want to get it right. If someone shuts up shop on us, we’ll keep poking about until someone opens another door. Nothing less will do.

    This is where you guys can help. We need you. We want tips, we want stories, we want the ins and outs of this university—and what better resource than the people who fill its arteries day in and day out.

    My email is stupidly easy to remember: michael@salient.org.nz, or news@salient.org.nz

    We’re up on Level 2 of the Student Union Building, and we’re always open. I’m the douchebag sitting on the far left, the editor is the douchebag on the far right, and the guy in the middle makes everything look pretty—let him be. He’s in his zone.

    Email us, talk to us, let us know what’s going on. As much as I hate to admit it, we’re in a bit of a bubble up there on Level 2. And yeah, we can do much better—we have to. You guys deserve nothing less.

    Thanks,

    Michael Oliver
    Salient News Editor
    michael@salient.org.nz, news@salient.org.nz

  184. Richard says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    I absolutely guarantee your pseudo-representatives would be gagging to ‘support war’ if their little son or girlfriend was going to be killed by the enemy and the only way to prevent this was to pull the trigger.

    Politics is 99% horseshit, student politics particularly so, always has been, always will be

    Even they’ll work this out eventually

    cheers

  185. Mike says:

    Matthew Cunningham…

    Good call on the vitriol but I have to ask. Can you or indeed Jasmine or Freya CATAGORICALLY CONFIRM to all interested parties that this decision wasn’t influenced by personal ideologies/agendas but was made purely along mandated lines?

    Is there a polygraph machine on campus?

  186. Kerry says:

    Ross – How are you even at University???!! Have you even READ a BOOK?! Go talk to a history lecturer, or better yet, go into a library! There’s a whole course of Christopher Columbus at Vic Uni which you may like to take to make yourself better informed. In the Americas the Spanish invented ‘modern’ slavery. History is history. Learn from it, yes,, but don’t keep harping on and on about it. You can’t change the past – and you do is piss people off – so how about you try and change the future.

    Also, I actually took the time to read the comments on here and there’s definately references to communism and socialism. As most of the anti-British, anti-Anzac rubbish comes from the mouths of those who spout these ideologies, I would say that what I said was entirely relevant.

  187. Kerry says:

    Matt – No I am a different, Kerry. I would never, ever, ever say such a thing. I am not embarrassed at all to be British. I am not Pakeha. I wasn’t born here. I am a British/New Zealand Citizen and proud.

  188. Tim says:

    I’m a PhD from Victoria University. The failure to honour our fallen sickens me to the core. I cannot put into words the embarrassment I feel. Furthermore they clearly do not represent the student body. Clearly some things never change.

  189. Matthew_Cunningham says:

    Mike:
    “I have to ask. Can you or indeed Jasmine or Freya CATAGORICALLY CONFIRM to all interested parties that this decision wasn’t influenced by personal ideologies/agendas but was made purely along mandated lines?”

    Well, you have me there – I can’t categorically confirm anything. However, I base my argument on the fact that, despite the strong ideological roots of some of its members, I have not seen anything in the words or actions of the exec this year that would indicate they are letting their positions be compromised by their political belefs. This is based off reading eye on exec each week, as well as the President’s column (and the occasional columns released by Freya Eng / Mariya Kuyiprenko), browsing the exec meeting minutes and their work reports, as well as general grapevine gossip from colleagues at the university. All of this material is available online.

    Obviously, everyone is biased in some form, and it is the nature of subjectivity that the way we approach certain situations in life will be shaped by our own personal beliefs, but overall (and with the weight of the evidence listed above) I am suitably impressed with the exec’s impartiality. I find this quite refreshing after the heavily biased positions taken by Joel Cosgrove all too often last year.

    Alternatively, you could always ask the exec themselves – I am sure they would be more than willing to accomodate you.

    Cheers, Matt.

  190. If you oppose the VUWSA executive’s actions in relating to Anzac Day please join our group. Honouring soldiers does not equal honouring war.

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=93919515659&ref=nf

  191. Mike says:

    Hi Matt,

    Fair enough. At least you have approached the issue with some rational thought which cannot be said for many posts on this issue. I feel the exec have bitten off more than they can chew here. I only hope they learn from this episode and in keeping with her (Jasmine’s) promise of accountability “front up” to what in hindsight was clearly an error on their part.

    It’s the Haliburton’s & the Blackwaters of this world who glorify & profiteer from conflict. Volunteer & conscript soldiers fighting for nationhood & their mates under the premises of (admittedly outdated) ideology from a different century do not deserve our disrespect.

    Rational people understand that hence “Peace Action Aoteoroa’s” massive “own goal” burning a flag two years ago at the dawn service. It’s just not the right day to do it on ANZAC Day.

    You have 364 other days to fight the good fight.

  192. Superior Mind says:

    Philip Ferguson have you ever been to Gallipoli and the surrounding area? I have, not on ANZAC Day, but from talking to people there I found that most of them love ANZAC Day. Why wouldn’t they? It’s a huge boost to the local economy.

    Although ANZAC Day has it’s origins in the Gallipoli campaign, a poorly-planned mess which shouldn’t have even happened by all accounts, ANZAC Day isn’t about commemorating the campaign itself and it never has been. People go there because it’s where many of the soldiers lie buried, they go there because it’s the actual place where brave soldies from boths sides gave up their lives. ANZAC Day isn’t about the wars, it’s about the people in them. I feel I’m hitting my head against a brick wall here so I won’t say more than that.

  193. Karin says:

    Philip Ferguson:
    I think you have misunderstood the main issue here when you wrote
    “They go on about mandates, but what mandates do they have? There is no VUWSA policy on the Anzac issue, so no reason for anyone on the Executive to bow to the kind of rabid attack-dogs that are venting their spleen here.”

    The problem is that with no mandate VUWSA should have not expressed any viewpoint. They decided to instead make comments around the theme of ‘condoning war’ which have been offensive to the vast majority of the student’s – who they are charged with representing (and paid to do so).

    No mandate = no mandate to say anything either way.

    If they knew that the issue of wreath-laying was a touchy subject – and let’s face it, how could they not have worked this out way before ANZAC Day – then they should have had plenty of time to ask students whether they should maintain the status quo and lay a wreath as done in the past, or get a mandate to do otherwise.

    I ask that people read my earlier post which I have repeated here:

    Karin – 28 Apr, 2009 at 11:38 pm
    Hey guys,
    I reckon that those of us who are upset about the action of the VUWSA executive should take positive steps to show that we think the decision to not lay a wreath was inappropriate.
    I suggest that concerned students take it into their own hands and represent the section of the VUWSA members who understand that the recognition of a sacrifice is not glorifying it or war.
    I am sure that it is possible to lay a tribute belatedly, whether it be officially VUWSA mandated or not.
    If each member who feels aggrieved picked a flower from their garden (or their neighbour’s) and placed it on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior it would express more than words on a website can do.
    Or maybe Salient can set up somewhere for people to make a small donation that can be put towards a wreath or given to the RSA… or something else constructive.

    I think that the decision to not lay a wreath shows that it is not possible for all student’s views to be represented by a few, and to be forced to be a member of an organisation that pretends to represent what we think is grossly unfair

    thanks for your time!

  194. Amanda says:

    If VUWSA is meant to represent the student body they should not bow to the ideals of a potentially small group but should represent the majority of students who I hope are not stupid enough to interpret ANZAC as condoning war. Perhaps a survey of students opinion should have been carried out to ensure students were represented accurately.
    Shame on you exec.

  195. Whetu Hohepa says:

    Ross, top call, that. I too have an MA (hons) and can no longer sit back and listen to the diatribe of the poorly educated, ignorant, blog-trolls, who seem fixated with nothing beyond espousing the cliche-ed and hackneyed opinions of the perpetually ill-informed (and dare we say it, brain washed?). How dare they? I’m only interested in hearing the thoughts and insightful opinions from those of us participating here such as yourself and Phil. All others in the forum and debate are clearly Unworthy of our overarching intellect, and superlative ability to see beyond the tawdry ‘headlines’ and incendiary comments to truly, madly, deeply understand what the intrinsic essence of “culture” really is.

  196. Matt Fairhurst says:

    Finally, some rational points are made, free of vitriol and abuse. The problem I see with the ANZAC day celebration is it, as Phil suggests (not trying to put words in your mouth here, just developing a point that I took from your post, and forgive me if I misinterpret), becomes about one, single, and very one-sided issue – the sacrifice all these ANZAC soldiers made – at the expense of every other issue. Now (I don’t think I should have to point out here that I respect that sacrifice, but to avoid abuse, let’s take it as read), there isn’t anything wrong with this as such, but — and it’s a pretty big but — it overshadows a lot of what was actually happening at the time, some of which definitely calls into question the nature of what we’re celebrating with ANZAC day. Admittedly, as many posters have pointed out, there are 364 other days each year for thinking about these issues, but let’s face it, the level of thought that goes on on all these other days (about NZ’s involvement in WW1 etc I mean) is pretty negligible (many of the comments on this blog demonstrate that). This makes it pretty damn hard for those with opposing views — many of them potentially worth hearing — to have any impact at all, unless they present these ideas on the day when we’re all (apparently) thinking about the issue. So we seem to end up with a circular situation where if I (for example) want to express something about NZ’s involvement in WW1 on any day except ANZAC day, no one’ll care, and if I use the only day when people will care, I’ll be abused, called a traitor, spat on, reviled in the media etc etc…Catch-22. (Actually it’s not a Catch-22 at all, but it’s almost as annoying as one.)
    Personally I’m pretty neutral on the whole affair – but as I posted a couple days ago, I think a far better way of showing respect for our fallen would involve working to actually stop war. Remembrance may be a place to start, but it really doesn’t seem to work. I’m not some hippie advocating we immediately dissolve our defence forces or anything, but the idea that war is inevitable needs some serious rethinking.
    Finally, I’ll just add that, while I’m happy for most anyone to celebrate most everything in most any way, I’ll always be (at best) skeptical of being forced (either literally or through abuse etc when I publically refuse to comply) to participate in “mandatory” cultural, national (religious) etc ceremonies, or even to agree with the majority opinion. Time was when you could expect a hiding if you didn’t stand for “God Save the Queen” before a movie. Time was when you could expect to be crucified in no man’s land if you refused to be killed for a cause you didn’t believe in. I sure am glad we’ve moved on.

  197. Jeremy Compton says:

    ANZAC day is part of New Zealand culture as much as Waitangi Day. ANZAC is about RESPECT for other people and About REMEMBERING those who before us to chose to fight in campaigns that the Government of the day was involved in despite the politics of the day, good and bad. Yes it is very sad that NZ lost so many.

    But if you dont agree, with ANZAC day, thats fine, your entitled to your opinion. But just dont spoil for others, with protests and all other kinds of crap.

    Whether you have been to Gallipolli or not, good on you if you have. Yes British Generals of the time screwed up big time and many New Zealanders lives were lost. Whether you have a PhD in History or not, or what ever other field you have studied.

    This issue here is RESPECT for those members and former members of the New Zealand Defence Force who served either then or in a later campaign.

    The issue here is also is also what the student president and the executive said being representatives of the students association, who the students pay money to represent them.

    These people seem to be totally unaware of the INCENDIARY AND WOWFULLY OFFENSIVE COMMENTS THEY MADE IN A PUBLIC FORUM.

    These people seem to be totally unaware of any idea of STAKEHOLDER MANAGEMENT.

    NEITHER DO THESE PEOPLE SEEM TO HAVE ANY IDEA OF THE IMPLICATION OF THEIR COMMENTS AND DECISIONS ON THE REPUTATIONS OF THE ORGANISATIONS THEY CLAIM TO REPRESENT.

  198. Superior Mind says:

    Phil, go live in a shack in the depths of the Milford Sounds if you don’t want to deal with what the majority of New Zealanders define as part of their culture. Nothing’s stopping you, (except DoC maybe.)

    But for the last time, ANZAC Day is not about commemorating Gallipoli, World War 1, The sequal, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the smorgasbored of global conflicts going on today and let’s not forget the Boer War even though it predates the whoe ANZAC thing – no ANZAC Day is about those who fought IN those wars. I swear I will tattoo that last sentence into your forehead if you don’t pick up on that fact.

  199. Jeremy Compton says:

    I dispute the fact here that you need to be qualified in some particular sense or another. I have been a soldier, l am new zealand born, l have grown up here all my life.

    So what makes a person a New Zealander more qualified or less qualified. I could say that unless you have been a member of the New Zealand Armed Forces then you dont qualify to make a position. I am not going to do that at all.

    I AM SAYING THAT THERE SHOULD BE RESPECT FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE SERVED IN THE ARMED FORCES FOR THERE COUNTRY.

    JUST LOOK AT THE HISTORY OF VUW STUDENTS ASSOCIATION WITH REGARDS TO ANZAC. WE HAVE PEOPLE ESPOUSING THINGS THEY DONT KNOW ABOUT.

    THEY THEN TRY TO REPRESENT PEOPLE WHO HAVE VERY LITTLE IDEA ABOUT THESE THINGS OR HAVE NOT SERVED IN THE ARMED FORCES.

    THIS IS A CULTURAL THING RELATED TO THE ARMED FORCES AND THE RELATED FAMILIES INVOLVED. I LOST FAMILY IN FORMER CONFLICTS.

    I would really like to support and endorse Ross Brighton’s comments. No one is qualified to properly define or debate New Zealand culture unless they have a solid background in cultural studies. It’s not enough to live in this country to be in a position to describe and debate our culture. You really have to a BA at least. Also, you can’t be offended if you feel someone has disrespected your culture without proper study under your belt. Taking offence can only occur when you have received a tertiary education to help you understand the culture in which you exist (and when a democratically elected and qualified culture definition committee has confirmed the definition of NZ culture).

  200. Matt says:

    I think firefox needs a new add-on to alert users to irony…

  201. S. McF says:

    Okay, I can’t believe this. All that was required was an apology for stuffing up for stuffing up is what the Exec did. Simple. But none comes. Debate on culture is pointless because the actions of the Exec have held Vic Students up to national ridicule. To say personal political views did not drive the choice made is generous for the facebook page of the Pres clearly states her political views and the Workers Party website advertises the Workers Party distain for all aspects of ANZAC Day.

  202. Sharon 2 says:

    I know what you are getting at Matt. You are implying that my comments are not serious. Well without Phil and Ross’s critical thinking and specialist education how would we have known that ANZAC day serves as a pseudo-religious occasion and the response to the exec’s actions stifle debate and are therefore dangerous? It takes a special mind to draw those conclusions with which I doubt you are blessed. You obviously don’t have the education and rational, critical thinking type of mindset to understand the core of this discussion. You probably think ANZAC day is about remembering the participants in all conflicts, that the day is an important cultural event for many New Zealanders and a lot of people on this blog are offended that the exec has not respected that fact. So much for what you know. Just leave the thinking to Phil and Ross at least one of them has a BA and they really get it.

  203. sharon 2 says:

    Matt, I know what you are thinking. How dare you imply that my comments are not serious. Without Phil and Ross’s critical thinking and education how would we have known that ANZAC day serves as a pseudo-religious occasion and the responses in this blog stifle debate and are therefore dangerous? It takes a special mind to draw those conclusions which I bet you don’t have. You need a tertiary degree and a critical thinking type of mindset to understand the core of this discussion. Uneducated people like you probably think that the point of this blog is that ANZAC day is about remembering the participants in all conflicts, that ANZAC ceremonies are important cultural events for many New Zealanders and a lot of people are offended that the exec, who apparently represents their interests, have not respected that fact. So much for what you know. Just leave the thinking to Phil and Ross at least one of them has a BA and they really get it.

  204. neil furby says:

    War is war. War is hell. It is a natural part of life. It is man at his greatest, and at his worst. Tim you depress me Come out of the Cave

  205. Ronald says:

    Matt I am writing on behalf of Sharon (she is in a culural studies lecture and is unable to send through these thoughts), She writes: I know what you are thinking. How dare you imply that my comments are not serious. Without Phil and Ross’s critical thinking and education how would we have known that ANZAC day serves as a pseudo-religious occasion and the responses in this blog stifle debate and are therefore dangerous? It takes a special mind to draw those conclusions which I bet you don’t have. You need a tertiary degree and a critical thinking type of mindset to understand the core of this discussion. Uneducated people like you probably think that the point of this blog is that ANZAC day is about remembering the participants in all conflicts, that ANZAC ceremonies are important cultural events for many New Zealanders and a lot of people are offended that the exec, who apparently represents their interests, have not respected that fact. So much for what you know. Just leave the thinking to Phil and Ross at least one of them has a BA and they really get it.

  206. George Romero says:

    Typicall little commie , lefty shitheads who are so pathetic as to say war is bad bad bad.
    War is for killing your enemies , the ones who want to kill you!
    If it wasn’t for the ANZAC troops you commie scum would not even be here!
    Traitors.FY!

  207. Tim- Japan has never been communist. Read your history.

    Furthermore, Do you honsetly think that more than 130,000 (90,000 at Hiroshima, 40,000 in Nagasaki) US troops would have died in a ground invasion? If you do not, then does that mean that the lives of US servicemen are worth more than those of Innocent civilians? US bombing of Japan killed nearly 200,000 poeple, mostly civilians. Are these lives worth less than those of poeple with guns to defend themselves?

    And if anyone is going to bring up “us being saved from Japanese invasion”, how different is that from (unchecked) British expansionism in the 19th Century? We are still subjects of the British crown – how different, objectivly speaking, is that from being Japanese subjects?

    As a final note i wish to state unequivically that I am not a communist, for the purposes of clarification.

  208. dave says:

    just have some respect for the soldiers eh. anzac days isn’t a day to remember war, its a days to remember those that fought and sacrificed so much to defend freedom.

    “anyone can talk about what should be done in a given moment but most wont do anything about it. you see it every day on your tv screens, all sorts of so called experts with great sounding title and articles that have been published. they are always ready to give advice but never ready to pick up a rifle, ruck up and close with the enemy”

    im not writing this to change your views on war but i am writing this to say that you should have respect for those that fight for your freedom, have respect for the soldiers.

  209. Informa says:

    Join the VUWSA Boycott group on Facebook.

  210. Chris Jack says:

    OH my goodness , if you think laying a wreath to remember people who died for your freedom is to condon war , you are all bloody stupid and should stop wasting your time at uni! I have served in the Defence force and always take the time on Anzac Day to remember those who died for my freedom.

    Wake up and smell the roses , idiots!

  211. Ray says:

    The VUWSA have the democratic right not to lay a wreath……NZ is one of only 6 countries in the last 100 years to have been continously free and democratic.
    Now why is that.. O we have had citizens fight/die for our democracy…….

    “I don’t want to look like we support war at all,” vice-president of education Freya Eng said”

    ANZAC day is the day we often think about the horrors of war but more importantly it is the day to remember those who made sacrifices and ensured that we remained a democracy by fighting off those who wanted to impose their will on us.

    Fancy having a group of twits as the exec controlling the student body where they cant even pay respect to those who gave them the right to be “free”….. SHAME

  212. John Edmundson says:

    Ray says:
    “ANZAC day is the day we often think about the horrors of war but more importantly it is the day to remember those who made sacrifices and ensured that we remained a democracy by fighting off those who wanted to impose their will on us.”

    Repeat something often enough and it’s supposed to become truth. If people keep saying NZ soldiers went to WWI to defend democracy and fight for freedom, it should become fact. Unfortunately it won’t. Neither will insulting people who disagree with you.

    Where is the evidence that the Turks, the Malaysians, the Koreans or the Vietnamese had designs on attacking us. And if the answer to the last three is “Ah but the commies were coming”, then I suggest dropping the pretense that ANZAC Day isn’t political.
    Cheers,
    John

  213. Freya Eng says:

    To the Students,

    I have been avoiding this page because of advice about the vitriol aimed at me. Naturally it is quite hurtful to read. However, I have a lot of respect for students, and feel you deserve to hear what I have to say before Salient comes out next Monday with my right of reply.

    First of all, my comment was part of wider discussion about VUWSA policy on war in general (which catagorically says that the students of VUW do not support war – feel free to change this at an SRC if you feel that the student body’s views have changed – that is what democracy is about). By no means did I say that I think ANZAC Day condones or supports war. Of course that is a ludicrous position. My relatives fought in the World Wars, I regularly attend Dawn Services, and have marched in the parade wearing my grandfather’s and great uncle’s medals.

    I adore Salient and am very proud of it. It is one of the best student publications in the country (actually probably the best). However, this media scandal is the result of poor reporting. The national news outlets picked it up and went with the most sensational headline possible. Even the headline above is simply untrue. The Executive consists of many people from many different parties (I myself am not a member of any political party), but Jasmine, myself and the other two VPs are extremely stoic about making sure every decision we make is about student representation and democracy. It is the first question we ask in making decisions – “Does it benefit our members (students)?”

    For context’s sake, VUWSA’s history (under previous Executives) with ANZAC Day. The Association has laid anti-wreaths and no wreath at all before.

    It is for this reason that we reached the conclusion that it would be best (regardless of how we personally feel about ANZAC Day, as that does not factor – we are representatives of all students, not ourselves, obviously) that we ascertain students’ position on ANZAC Day, and whether they feel their representative body should support it or not, at a Student Representative Council (which is going to be held next week – check Salient for details). I stand by this decision, as I believe it upholds our overall goal of acting on behalf of students, not blindly doing what we personally think is right (that is very subjective), as previous Execs have done.

    Seeing as there is so much inquiry into the matter – I am a 5th generation Norwegian immigrant on my father’s side – that is where my last name comes from – and 1st generation English on my mother’s side. I believe a German married into my family at some point but that is the extent of my German ancestry. The point is, however, is that is irrelevant, and no matter what I am reported to have said, that would never make anyone fair game for racist or sexist attacks (stupid b****, idiotic woman, etc). One person emailed me telling me to go back to my sh**hole country… I was born in Tauranga. That sort of thing is absolutely unacceptable.

    As a final note, I am also disappointed at the slurs on Jasmine. Working with her closely on a day-to-day basis, I best of anyone can tell you that she is a hardworking, intelligent woman, and a very strong leader – working for students and representing them well is a passion of hers and she works ridiculously long hours. Check out her work reports on the VUWSA website for proof of this.

    I hope that answers your questions (I did not have a chance to read all of the comments), and appreciate your feedback and outrage, but the moral of the story is: don’t believe everything you read. If you have further questions, feel free to visit myself, Jasmine or any other member of the Executive in our offices on the ground floor of the student union building. We are happy to be held accountable to you.

    Respectfully,

    Freya Eng
    Vice President (Education)

  214. dave says:

    “The Executive consists of many people from many different parties (I myself am not a member of any political party), but Jasmine, myself and the other two VPs are extremely stoic about making sure every decision we make is about student representation and democracy.”

    you use the word democracy but if it wasnt for good people fighting wars you wouldnt have that democracy in this country.

    “For its Tommy this an’ Tommy that, an’ “chuck ‘im out, the brute!” – But it’s “savior of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot” – Rudyard Kipling

    how can you comment on war if youve never experienced it yourself? you say that vuwsa doesnt support war, a view you probably obtained by sitting infront of a tv watching the news in the safety of your own home. unless you know what it is like to leave your home, your friends and family behind not knowing if you will ever see them again going to work under some of the worst conditions you will ever experience, unless you know what its actually like to fight for queen and country then you have no foundation for your comment.

    most the work done by soldiers today is peace keeping, helping to rebuild a country. there are many people from outside this country that are greatful for what we do, yet you dont often see this in the news, you see what will sell news papers.

    do bear in mind that this is not aimed at you as an individual but at the vuwsa as a whole and those that support their lack of respect. also bear in mind that i do not condone the threatening emails you have been recieveing.

    im not here to change you oponions on wars being fought because im sure they are different but when it comes down to it anzac day is about the soldier, not the war.

    “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling that thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.” – John Stuart Mill

  215. Whetu Hohepa says:

    Tim Milne: whilst you may have some university education, it is clearly not in the field of interpreting Blatant Irony. Re-read Sharon’s post’s with that observation in mind, and I think you might find an amusing and kindred spirit there.

  216. Shitkicker McGee says:

    Freya, you said you didn’t want to be seen to be supporting war. You said it whilst discussing VUWSA’s ANZAC wreath policy. Don’t try and put the blame on ‘poor reporting’. It was your poor thinking-before-speaking that caused this.

  217. Alan Grigor says:

    The refusal of Victoria University Wellington Students Association to lay a wreath at the ANZAC Day Commemerations disgusts me. The VUWSA gives the reasons that to do so “would be to condone war” , “it has no offical mandate from students” and those students who do not see ANZAC Day as a day of rememberence “need their views heard also”. I understand that the VUWSA is a compulsary organisation that takes money from all its members so should therefore represent them all. It would hardly need a university education to realise that a large number of students would like ANZAC Day to be recognized and the actions of the VUWSA are ignorant. Interesting to note that the the website photos of the executive show a photo of Chinese dictator Mao in the back ground. I wonder if the VUWSA executive think highly of a man who was in charge of a regime that caused so much hardship , misery and death to so many.The Executive should hang their heads in shame and if they had any sort of belief in freedom of speech , and integrity they would resign and stand for re election .But I bet they will cling to their positions like the leeches they are using other peoples money to further their own actions which are a disgrace to their organisation , members and them personally.

  218. Freya Eng says:

    Hi Dave –

    Thanks for your comment. VUWSA’s policy on war was obtained through a student representative council meeting (of which any member can attend – we have them every week this year), and so does not reflect on the views of the current exec. As I have said, we did not make our decision based on our view of war, but on our collective commitment to a student voice. Because ANZAC Day is such a contentious issue, we decided that it was not a decision for us to make (for example, if we had had policy on it in the future, it would have prevented previous execs from laying “anti-imperialist” wreaths).

    Shitkicker McGee – You have a right to your opinion, of course. I have told the truth, and stand by it. I realise I am in a public position and am responsible to students for everything I utter as EVP, but I refuse to allow criticism based on comments that were taken out of context and sensationalised. ANZAC Day honours service men and women past and present, appreciates their service and sacrifice and reflects on the horrors of war, but I do not, nor have I ever, believed that it supports war.

    As far as I am concerned that is all I have to say on the matter. I will not be returning to this page again, as I feel I have done my duty to students in replying to their concern.

    Regards,

    Freya Eng

  219. Shitkicker McGee says:

    Sensationalised too! Oh my, you’re so hard done by.

  220. dave says:

    but anzac day isnt a contentious issue. its a nationally recognized day of rememberence where people gather in the thousands at cenotaphs all around the country standing in complete silence as the bugle sounds. people of all age, from young children through to the vets of WWII, malaya and vietnam. even primary school student have enough smarts to realise why anzac day is so important.

    given that there is no “official mandate from students” to recognise ANZAC Day means that officially no student objects the VUWSA on recognizing and supporting anzac day. if this is the case the best pratice would be to use common sense and show respect to those that gave some much.

    i just hope that next year the VUWSA doesnt make the same mistake

  221. Hamish says:

    Is the government not representing the views of New Zealanders when it lays wreaths on Anzac day? Would Australians be disgusted the their High Commissioner placed a wreath at Wellington’s cenotaph just because a minority oppose war? New Zealanders are turning up to dawn services in record numbers. VUWSA should probably note that just because a minority is more vocal, doesn’t make it the majority; it seems to have done jus that, sadly.

    I wore a Poppie on Anzac Day.

  222. Mum says:

    Good on you Freya…though you won’t likely read this I will at least say I’m impressed you’ve taken the time to reply. I like someone who fronts up and faces the crazy mob. I look forward to reading Salient’s next issue.

  223. Gibbon says:

    Sigh, am I wasting my time?
    Freya:
    Does VUWSA believe that students should be forced to be a member of its association? If so, how can VUWSA continue to accept student’s money each year, when, to quote Freya Eng, “some students may not feel the same way”?

  224. Unfortunately gibbon you probably are.
    I to would like to know the answer to your question.

  225. diddums says:

    Freya, you are an idiot.

  226. nz soldier says:

    I have recently read the article about VUWSA refusal to lay a wreath for ANZAC day commerations on stuff.co.nz and I am disgusted.
    I am a member of the New Zealand Defence Force and would firstly like to state that the views stated here are my own and i know way represent the views of the NZDF, I have served my country on four seperate operational deployments in three seperate countries and both my great grandfathers and grandfaters served during WW1 and WW2 respectivly.
    How can a body selected by the students to represent them be so stupid, you speak of requiring a mandate to lay a wreath, it is every new zealanders mandate to remember and respect those that have gone before and fought and died for the way of life that you now live.
    ANZAC day in no way condones war, infact it is the opposite, it teachs and reminds us of the mistake made in the past that have cost so much.
    I am physically sickened by your lack of respect, I hope that your student mandate also states that all students not of christen faith do not have good friday and easter monday off……….no it doesnt well there is my point.

    Hopefully your student body will see the error of there ways and elected a new executive that doesnt make a mockery of its universtiy and its student assocition.

  227. Matt says:

    Mandate. n.
    2. Polit. [After French mandat (1789 in this sense). In quot. 1796 the phrase mandate instructions is probably after French mandats impératifs (1789).] The commission to rule or to pursue stated policies conferred by electors on their elected representatives; support for a policy or measure of an elected party regarded as deriving from the preferences expressed by the votes of the electorate.
    Oxford English Dictionary

  228. Emma says:

    I just read Freya’s rebuttal to her actions… I can get over the fact she wears her relative’s medals to services and yet doesn’t feel passionately enough about ANZAC to say stuff a mandate and YES laying a wreath is what students want….?

  229. Matt Fairhurst says:

    Emma: Did you mean you *can’t* get over that fact? In which case you’re saying you can’t get over the fact that she’s able to put her strong personal feelings on the issue second to the responsibility to carry out her job as a democratically elected official? Huh. You people sure are hard to please.

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