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August 8, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Prez Col. 18

VUWSA works to get you the best deal from Victoria and the Government.

But the ability for us to do that has been under threat by an ACT Party Bill to bring an end of automatic membership of VUWSA and most other students’ associations across New Zealand.

Slowly making its way through Parliament since 2009, Heather Roy’s VSM Bill was looking unlikely to pass before the election, until she discovered her golden ticket—a procedural motion that (with the support of the Government) allowed debate on the Bill before hers to end and allow her destructive and unwanted VSM Bill to continue being debated.

This opportunistic move has put VUWSA at considerable threat, without time to properly consult students (knowing the exact status of the Bill) on potential changes and for VUWSA and the University to negotiate thorough and robust arrangements on how vital representation and services like support for clubs, rep groups, events, and other services can continue if the Bill is passed.

What’s more is that National MPs across the country have been telling students, no longer than two weeks ago, that this Bill would not pass before the election, and that they liked the idea of a compromise that satisfied both sides of the debate—not just one extreme.

Our national reps at NZUSA have been working achieve a fair alternative with the Government which addresses their concerns around the status-quo while ensuring our voice, our services, and our choice around how we as students organise ourselves on our campus is not lost.

Under the current law you can opt out of VUWSA and can request a referendum to change our membership system. This Bill will take away your choice without regard to your welfare or quality of education.

VUWSA has been planning for the worst, but there is only so much planning you can do when you are boxing with ghosts. We’ve had countless meetings with the University to discuss various scenarios about how we can protect vital services, an outstanding student experience, and an independent voice for all students if the universal nature of VUWSA forcibly ended by Parliament.

This Bill could pass as soon as September. Its current implementation date of January 1st 2012 is destructive and impractical. Institutional milestones have been missed—consultation on the 2012 Student Services Levy was completed three weeks ago, there are only eight weeks of classes left and our AGM is
this Thursday.

The National Party needs to stop rewarding a discredited ACT Party. John Key and Steven Joyce must forge an enduring compromise on the issue for the benefit of all students and institutions around the country.

VUWSA will keep pushing for them to see sense, but we need your help too. Email John and Steve to tell them not to jeopardise what we all currently enjoy from having an independent and accountable student voice for the sake of throwing the ACT Party an ideological legislative bone.

Grab a free pizza lunch and BBQ and come to along to VUWSA’s AGM this Thursday, 1pm in the Clubs Lounge in the Student Union Building. More information on the AGM is on our website. At least 100 students need to be present for the magic to happen—so make sure you come along!

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