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April 13, 2014 | by  | in Opinion VUWSA |
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Sonya Says

Last week the Deputy Mayor, Justin Lester, came and visited the VUWSA offices for a chat. Since the new Council was elected last year in October, they’ve been really keen to talk to us and hear about what students need and want for Wellington City.

While many students commute in from the wider Wellington region, the majority of students live in the city itself. Whether it’s a damp flat in Aro Valley, a trek up the Brooklyn hill every day, or living at home in Johnsonville or Miramar, the roads, hills, valleys and systems of Wellington are a part of our daily student lives. Because the city is a big part of our lives as students, I do my best to make sure that the Wellington City Council is aware of the needs of students. We recently did this by submitting on the Council’s Annual Plan, which outlines what it’s doing in the next year to make Wellington a better place.

I think that to most students, Wellington is generally known as a pretty expensive city to live in, with pretty cold and windy weather. We compare our rents with our Dunedin friends’ and our weather with Auckland’s (mostly). While these aren’t the best attributes, many of us moved to Wellington for university because it is known as a great city for events and culture. If you live centrally, it is also great to walk around (while public transport still costs a lot).

In our submission, we told the Council that more needs to be done to make student flats in Wellington safe, healthy and affordable. Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and many of the other Councillors are really on board with this. Houses should be safe: after the earthquakes last year, many students didn’t know whether their buildings were okay, and felt they had little power to ask landlords for a building inspection. Houses should be healthy: the Council is also currently trialling a rental warrant of fitness on some housing, which will make sure that housing meets a minimum standard (just like a vehicle) to be safe and healthy for people to live in. If this could be rolled out across all rental properties, then horror stories of soaking-wet walls and mouldy wardrobes wouldn’t have to be a thing anymore. We’re working on this and we’ll keep you posted.

Walking in the city is a big part of our lives – Lambton Ward Councillor Nicola Young has asked us to show her the paths and steps that need fixing or need better lighting installed. Send me an email if there’s a particular street or set of steps that are bothering you – by talking to the right people, we can get onto these things quickly.

Have a great week – and make sure you come along to University Challenge trials on Wednesday for your chance to be on the Victoria team on TV! See our Facebook for more details.

Your Prez,


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