Compulsory student union had $200,000 in SCF

Published: Thu 21 Oct 2010 11:30 AM
Compulsory student union had $200,000 in SCF
The compulsory University of Canterbury Students Association (UCSA) invested $200,000 in South Canterbury Finance during 2009, pro-voluntary membership group Student Choice revealed today. UCSA’s investment in SCF was part of an investment portfolio totalling $2.2 million in 2009.
The information, from UCSA’s 2009 financial report, comes to light as Parliament debates a bill to restore voluntary membership to student unions. Supporters of compulsory membership claim that the bill will cut unions’ income but they fail to mention that compulsory membership has been a goldmine for unions.
Compulsory membership means that unions receive guaranteed income year after year, regardless of how they perform. This has given some unions excessive income, some of which they invest. In 2009 UCSA had fixed interest investments totalling $1.3 million, equity and shares of $440,000 and short-term investments of $400,000.
Other compulsory unions have used students’ money to buy houses. The compulsory Waikato Students Union owns four rental properties in Hamilton. According to its submission against the Freedom of Association bill, WSU said the houses were bought “in an attempt to influence the rising cost of rental properties in the university area.”
Supporters of compulsory membership want to protect the unearned income they take from students Arguments against voluntary membership amount to a small group of people trying to protect an anomalous law that gives them the ability to stick their hands in students’ pockets.

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