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February 22, 2010 | by  | in News |
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Student Politicians go on Wellington Rampage

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Delegates of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) descended upon Wellington in late January for their first conference of the year.

Under the watchful gaze of newly elected Co-Presidents David Do and Pene Delaney, members of students’ association executives from across the country mixed, mingled, ate, drank and discussed the pressing issues likely to affect tertiary students in 2010.

“One of the main issues discussed at conference was protecting the quality of tertiary education by fighting the threat of Roger Douglas’ voluntary student membership bill,” Co-President David Do said.

There was a minor hiccup when keynote speaker Norman Kingsbury was unable to attend the conference due to his flight being cancelled at the last minute.

Kingsbury held the NZUSA vice-presidential role in 1955.

His replacement, Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson, spoke primarily about the importance of student involvement in the tertiary education sector.

Robertson acknowledged he was a “very poor substitute” for Kingsbury, who he considers to be “an absolute treasure; the taonga of the student movement.”

Despite the setback, Do was pleased with the way the conference panned out.

“Our conference went very well, and we were very successful in equipping student representatives with the skills and knowledge to face them and stand up for students and the challenges ahead,” he said.

“Voluntary student membership will harm the quality of students’ experience at universities and polytechnics by cutting important student services and representation. Roger Douglas’ bill will cost students more, cost universities and polytechnics more, and ultimately cost the government more.”

VUWSA President Max Hardy felt confident after the conference.

“We left the conference equipped with a better understanding of how to deliver the services we provide and how to do our job as the governing body of VUWSA and student representative.”

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