INDEPENDENT NEWS

NZUSA And ATSA Don't Represent All Students

Published: Mon 12 Nov 2001 04:18 PM
NZUSA And ATSA Don't Represent All Students - Ignore Them
Statements from the New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA) and the Aotearoa Tertiray Students' Association (ATSA) about TEAC can be ignored, as both student groups are based on compulsory membership and therefore do not speak for the people they claim to represent, Student Choice spokesman Clint Heine said today.
Mr Heine said recent comments by NZUSA and ATSA about TEAC simply do not reflect the views of all tertiary students. "Some students support TEAC, some don't and some don't care or know about the issue. It's totally illegitimate for NZUSA and ATSA to say all 200,000 tertiary students oppose TEAC's recommendations. It's time the media questioned the legitimacy of NZUSA and ATSA," Mr Heine said.
"Individual students are not members of NZUSA and ATSA; instead most students are forced by compulsory membership to join regional associations which then affiliate to the national organisations. Forcing someone to join a political group does not mean their views are represented," Mr Heine said. "This simple political fact is ignored by student politicians and the Labour-Alliance government that supports compulsory membership," he said.
"The NZUSA and ATSA presidents are not elected by a system of one student, one vote. NZUSA and ATSA policy is not agreed to by all students but is created by a dwindling number of activists and fulltime student politicians. The low turnouts in regional student association elections this year are further evidence that NZUSA and ATSA are unrepresentative and illegitimate," Mr Heine said.
"Unfortunately the media have little understanding of the structure of NZUSA and ATSA," Mr Heine said. "Even though individual students have to pay the costs of the organisations, they are not individual members of NZUSA or ATSA. The only members are the presidents of the constituent student associations, most of which are based on compulsory membership," Mr Heine said.
Most students have no idea about what NZUSA and ATSA are saying on their behalf. Most students could not name the NZUSA or ATSA presidents and the organisations only consult with the tiny number of activists who attend conferences. In fact many students would have never even heard of NZUSA or ATSA Mr Heine said.
END
For more information contact:
Clint Heine Spokesman Student Choice NZ 021 122 8544 clint@politician.com

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