Image via WikipediaThe Labour Party is right behind the New Zealand Students' Association campaign to save their services, says Labour Tertiary Education Spokesperson, Maryan Street today.
"Roger Douglas's Voluntary Student Membership Bill, which to date has been supported by the National Party, is a bid to remove student associations from our tertiary education campuses by stealth, "she said.
"Students Associations provide representation at the highest level of tertiary institutions, advocacy services and additional services and events which contribute to a good student experience.
"Making them purely voluntary, rather than subject to a majority vote to make them compulsory, as is the case at present, risks taking away services from first year students which they don't even know about and have not been able to assess as worthwhile. That's the slash by stealth part of this bill.
"So far the National Party has supported the legislation to a select committee, despite making supportive comments to students about their associations in the run up to the last election. They need to tell students whether they support this bill or not. They also need to tell students and institutions who will pay for the services students' associations currently provide if they are not going to be able to survive under this bill. Are the institutions going to have to pick up this cost?
"This is part of their full scale attack on students at the moment. Students look set to be the only people not being compensated for an increase in GST; student loans are going to become harder to access; automatic entry after the age of 20 looks like it will go; and there is this Voluntary Student Membership bill - the government's threats to the tertiary education sector and students are a real worry," said Maryan Street.
The Labour Party is pleased to join Rural Women New Zealand, the Quality Public Education Coalition, the Tertiary Education Union, UniQ Victoria, the Council of Trade Unions, University Sport New Zealand and Te Mana Akonga in their support of the NZUSA campaign to Save Our Services.