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March 11, 2013 | by  | in Features |
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Campus Digest

Grant Robertson Interview

(Labour MP for Wellington Central)

Salient: Do you read Critic or Salient first?
Grant: Oh, Salient
S: Right answer

S: How does university differ to from when you were at Otago?
G: A lot of people have devices that they’re carrying around. do you realise it was 20 years ago this year that I was the President of Otago? So yeah a lot of it looks the same, a lot of it is excited people stepping out on a new bit of their life. Vic’s still got a lot of Wellingtonians as well as a lot of people who are coming from out of town which is a big experience. But everyone’s paying more than they were when I was there.

S: Did you pay?
G: In 1989 when i was a 7th former going on protests for student fees it cost $125 to go to Otago University, and when I arrived the
next year it cost $1250, a 1000 per cent increase.

S: Were there loans?
G: In the first two years there weren’t and that was hard. But there also were allowances and actually that made a huge difference. In
1991 I got about $80 a week. To give you what the equivalent of that meant, my rent was $45. Everyone got $80, and then you were means tested on top of that. It was a much fairer system, but we didn’t have the loans scheme and then obviously the loans scheme came in in 1992, and it was all downhill from there.

S: So rent was only $45?
g: Yeah, my first year flatting which was 1991, I lived on Castle st in Dunedin and it was only $45 a week and then it was $49 the next year, and then it was $55 the next year after, and then it was $70 and I was gutted. but inflation has kind of… it was 20 years ago.

S: If you could go back today and give student Grant Robertson advice, what would it be?
G: When your friend Andrew says “would you like to go for a run?” say yes not no, that would have been a really good idea, to have stayed fit. What else… I’m really happy with what I did at university actually.

S: Were you a straight A student?
G: A-, never quite got there, only got one A+ in my whole university career. I probably wouldn’t have got so stressed out about student politics I think, I used to get quite stressed.
S: If only Rory McCourt could hear that!

S: Who is your favourite member of One Direction?
G: I don’t know their names properly. It’s not Harry Styles, I don’t like the look of him.
S: And he doesn’t treat women very well.
G: Exactly, I do not like the look of him! Who’s the blonde one?
S: Niall.
G: I’ll say Niall, cause I like Irish. Can I have it in the article though that Grant wants to make absolutely clear that he thinks 1D are shite? Can we have that?

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About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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