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Hi friend! Here at VUWSA we’ve been hard at work over the last few weeks developing our vision for a student-friendly Wellington. Last Tuesday we got to talk a bit about that vision to the Wellington City Council during their public hearings on their annual plan. From the conversations we’ve been having with you, we’ve found the main welfare challenges facing students are cold, mouldy flats, affordable transport, and growing negative student stereotypes due to the actions of a few around alcohol.
These challenges form the basis of what we’ll be pushing for in the upcoming local body elections.
We want candidates to commit to:
- A 50% tertiary discount on buses.
- A rental Warrant of Fitness, which includes a standard on insulation, heating, and ventilation.
- A student-friendly Wellington, which values us.
These commitments are not new. VUWSA pushed for fairer fares and a rental WOF in the last local body elections. And there have been some wins:
- June 2014: Greater Wellington Regional Council voted to introduce a 25% concession, provided the City Council and tertiary institutions helped pay for it.
- 2015: Wellington City Council pledged $75,000 for a tertiary discount, and sent a letter requesting support from tertiary institutions.
- Victoria University was the only respondent, pledging support in principle, but requested further detail on the dollar commitment.
Despite all this, there have been some roadblocks. If we were truly a student-friendly city, fairer fares would be a reality today. But they’re not. It has simply not been a priority. Victoria University alone contributes over one billion to the local economy each year. We are a university of over 20,000 students. These numbers are not small. We are a big and important part of the Wellington community. VUWSA’s goal this year is to make sure students are heard in the upcoming elections, and that candidates share our vision for students.