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May 28, 2012 | by  | in News |
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Student Protesters March On Parliament

Stray from footpath; VUWSA rather unimpressed.


Budget day saw a temporary alliance between VUWSA and notorious student group We Are The University form, as the two united to protest against changes to student finance and tertiary education funding.

About 80 students gathered for a rally and sausage sizzle in the Hunter Courtyard, before disrupting traffic as they made their way down to Parliament. Joining with a hikoi of about 40 people against child poverty, the protesters were met by MPs from Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First and Mana.

VUWSA President Bridie Hood spoke to the crowd, saying changes to student loans were unfair and were being hit harder than other groups.

“Weak economic conditions shouldn’t be used as an opportunity to drive students further into poverty or deny people the opportunity to access an education without having to accrue an unreasonable amount of debt,” she said. “We understand the pressures of the current economic climate, but why should students disproportionally bare the brunt of this economy, when we are essential from emerging from it stronger.”

WATU’s Amanda Thomas also addressed the crowd and expressed similar sentiments.

“I think this Government is constantly shitting all over this generation, and undermining any opportunity that we have to stay in New Zealand and live fulfilling lives. They’re making our universities less accessible and less diverse,” Thomas told Salient.

“Fewer low socio-economic groups are going to be able to access tertiary education and increasing the repayment threshold is going to hurt new graduates who are already struggling, in a job market where 13.6 per cent of youth are unemployed, with few prospects for meaningful employment.”

About 400 Auckland University students marched through Auckland, tipping over rubbish bins to protest the changes.

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