Students are another step closer to a 50% discount on public transport.
At a community meeting held in Porirua last week, VUW students convinced previously non-voting Greater Wellington Regional Council (GRWC) councillor Jenny Brash to sign VUWSA’s Fairer Fares pledge.
GWRC had previously voted down the discount 7-6.
Brash agreed to sign the pledge on the condition that there is “no increase in fares for the families these students come from because they can’t afford it either.”
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The meeting was hosted by councillor Ken Laban and organised by first year student Ali Leota. It was attended by a number of regional councillors, campaigning candidates, and Porirua locals.
Student speakers on the night included Māori studies student Ali Leota, Master of Architecture student Elyjana Roach, third year BCom student Sailema Samuelu, second year Law and Māori studies student Te Nia Matthews, and St. Patrick’s College deputy head boy Nathan Lopa.
Leota told those in attendance the issue of fares needed to be “brought to the forefront,” because most students were “too scared to speak up.”
With transport costing between $83 and $90 per week—depending on the tertiary institute a student is attending—he said the prospect of study for those experiencing hardship was “pretty daunting.”
VUWSA President Jonathan Gee told councillors and candidates that students were looking to them for “some leadership and some support,” a theme echoed by all speakers on the night.
VUWSA Welfare vice president Rory Lenihan-Ikin described Brash’s support as “massive.”
“The last time Fairer Fares got voted on at council it lost 6-7, so assuming that the makeup of council doesn’t change after the election, this is the extra vote we needed to have a majority. It is also significant for the students of Porirua, who have a representative that finally understands why the cost of transport is seriously limiting their education opportunities.”
Lenihan-Ikin said VUWSA will “continue to pursue commitments from candidates,” while also ensuring students “have the information they need to make their vote count for Fairer Fares.”