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September 24, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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VUWSA Vice-President (Welfare)

Students speak up for fair fares and fair laws

The last fortnight has been marked by hundreds of students speaking up for fairness. To begin with, we’ve had almost 900 students tell us their stories about why our Regional Council should introduce concessions for students on buses and trains.

Over 97 per cent of students surveyed supported cheaper fares. These submissions have been passed on by VUWSA, and we hope that half price tickets will be a reality in a years’ time—that’s if we all keep up the pressure on the politicians. Thanks to those who submitted.

Through our consultation, students told heartbreaking stories of walking hours to class because of the prohibitive cost of public transport, and having to carry their children from suburbs like Newtown in the rain.

The fact is, students are in their worst financial position ever. Jobs are hard to find, and the Government is cutting student support like there’s no tomorrow. Now is the time for Council to take leadership and back fair fares for a segment of the population in desperate need of financial relief.

Serving on the Hardship Committee, I’ve seen firsthand how our students are struggling just to survive. Halving a major living cost like transport will mean many more students actually eat, and won’t be forced to drop out due to finances. Fair fares is about equity. It’s about helping those 1 in 6 students in “absolute financial stress” identified in the Graduate Longitudinal Study. It’s about allowing more students to take the bus at night, keeping them safe. It’s about fairness.

The other event that championed fairness was the recent VUWSA Special General Meeting. With over 150 students in attendance, the SGM took a vote to decide your student association’s official position on Louisa Wall’s Marriage Equality Bill. The vote was a landslide. Students backed fairness in law by 10:1. This sured up VUWSA’s mandate to actively support marriage equality for all our members.

It seems now that a student has requested a referendum on the matter to be run alongside the VUWSA General Election. I for one welcome the opportunity for more students to have a say on what our position should be. I’m confident students across the University will back fairness in the referendum, just like they did at the SGM.

You know why? Because just like transport fares, it’s a question of fairness. It’s about us standing up as a collective and saying that these situations are unjust and require immediate remedy. If you disagree, please feel free to pay full price for the bus, or to not marry a gay. But no matter what you do, allow the rest of us the chance to back fairness and improve the lives of our members.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Young Man says:

    “If you disagree, please feel free to pay full price for the bus” – can I also not pay the additional cost in my rates bill to pay for this subsidy? That’s only fair.

  2. Student student says:

    “If you disagree, please feel free to pay full price for the bus, or to not marry a gay.”

    Good argument for the second one, totally incoherent argument for the second one. Suggests you don’t understand that cheaper bus fairs aren’t a Pareto improvement, someone pays.

  3. Student student says:

    *incoherent argument for the first one

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