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July 13, 2009 | by  | in News |
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NZUSA changes afoot, embraces metric system.

Tolley adds colour to conference, little else

Proposed changes to the structure of the national body for student advocacy have aroused debate following discussions in Auckland over the mid-year break.

Delegates from the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations met to discuss a flurry of issues facing students in New Zealand, including a proposed restructuring of the organisation itself.

The new structure proposed by the presidents of Waikato Student Union, Lincoln University Students’ Association, Massey University (Wellington) Students’ Association and Massey University (Albany) Students’ Association would see the eradication of the co-president role in favour of a singular presidential position, a vice-presidential position, and two university and polytechnic caucus chairs from 2010.

The president’s salary would increase and the vice-president’s salary would remain the same as the current co-presidents’. The status and workload required of the President is estimated at $50,000.

Caucus chairs would receive honorarium to support the facilitation of caucuses, which is estimated at $5000 per caucus chair.

VUWSA President Jasmine Freemantle said the timeline proposed for the restructuring was too tight and that further revisions would be required.

She put forth a motion asking for a committee to be established comprised of an NZUSA Co-President, two association presidents, “at least one” alumni representative, and an outside consultant. The motion was passed unanimously.

In VUWSA’s official response to the change document, Freemantle highlighted the need for a thorough, exhaustive process.

“Regardless of one’s perspective on the proposed changes (or any other potential restructuring), such changes should not take place without an appropriate level of consultation,” she said.

The changes will be discussed further at a Fedex meeting of delegates in two weeks.

Student leaders were also left largely unimpressed by an appearance by Tertiary Education Minister Anne Tolley.

Speaking to delegates at the annual NZUSA conference, the Minister stood by the “tough choices” the Government made in tertiary education funding in its 2009 Budget.

Tolley also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to continuing to limit fee rises through maintaining the current fee maxima system.

While the Minister canvassed the government’s policies and proposed direction, most conference delegates were not impressed by her appearance and called her appearance “uninspiring.”

“There’s a difference between speaking and reading off a piece of paper, and there’s a difference between answering questions and paying lip service,” said AUSA President Darcy Peacock.

Some delegates remarked that the only real highlight was Tolley’s fashion sense. She wore a violet-coloured suit along with mottled yellow-purple heels.

One delegate characterised them as “rainbow camouflage with a touch of garden centre pansy.”

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Comments (2)

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  1. Ev says:

    Tough choices like increased subsidies for private schools!

    The Education portfolio is looking messy, and I fear the Ministry of Education is not where it needs to be. Hopefully Trevor Mallard and Maryan Street will stir things up in Select Committee!

  2. lol says:

    nom nom maryan street. id walk up her sidewalk any day.

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