Time to find a fairer alternative to Act’s VSM Bill
Student leaders are echoing calls for fairer alternatives to ensure students continue to get the best possible services,
representation and experience at university and polytechnic campuses.
“Heather Roy’s voluntary student membership bill is unworkable, unreasonable, and unsupported by students, the tertiary
sector, and the wider community. We endorse Labour’s call for discussions to create a reasonable, acceptable, durable
policy in this area,” says NZUSA co-President Max Hardy.
Students and their representatives have always been open to improving and enhancing current provisions to ensure strong
student services, independent representation, and better choices for students. To this end, many suggestions were made
during the Select Committee process on how to modify the law.
“The current law was a compromise made in the late 1990s, passed under a National Government, and has worked well up to
now. Instead of passing a bad Bill, we have the opportunity to ensure these suggestions are not ignored. We can still
produce a beneficial result from a parliamentary process that has taken almost two years so far,” says Hardy.
“Students’ associations do very good work – right now they are assisting students during the exam period, and in
Canterbury they are helping students out with their welfare and education needs during a very difficult time. Students
don’t deserve to have their services and representation wrecked in the name of pure ideology,” says NZUSA co-President
“The Bill is not supported by students or the public. Almost 5000 submissions were made on the Bill last year and 98%
were opposed, and an independent public opinion poll in November last year revealed 77% of respondents felt that
students should decide the structure of membership of their associations, compared with just 17% that believed it should
be the Government’s decision,” says Do.
“We are committed to delivering the best possible services, representation, and voice for students, and we want to work
with our elected representatives in Parliament on the best way to make that happen,” concludes Do.
NZUSA is the national representative body for tertiary students and has been advocating on student issues since 1929.
We stand for opportunity, for all.
NZUSA is the New Zealand Union of Students' Associations, the national body that represents New Zealand's students'
associations and the interests of New Zealand's 400,000 students at universities, polytechnics and in trades training.
We conduct original research, advocate to Government and through the media, and support New Zealand's students'
associations to be more effective on behalf of their members. We advocate alongside Te Mana Akonga – The National Māori
Students' Association, and Tertiary Women New Zealand – The NZUSA Women's Caucus.
Since 1929, we've believed in a society rich in opportunity, where anyone from anywhere can become any thing. We
support accessible, affordable quality public tertiary education.