4 August 2011
‘Lincoln Students Angry and Appalled at Act’s Anti-Student Bill’“The decision by National MPs to set aside parliamentary process to allow ACTs unwanted and vicious Bill to proceed
confirms that National cannot be trusted,” contends Lincoln University Students’ Association President, Ivy Harper.
“Students, tertiary institutions, organisations, and community groups throughout New Zealand have been working hard to
fight this unwanted Bill. Almost 5000 people submitted against the long running Bill and 98% of the submissions were
against it”, says Harper.
The Association has been beset this year with a number of challenges including issues surrounding the Canterbury
earthquakes, as well as the long-running Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill, which if passed will have a
devastating impact on students associations throughout New Zealand.
“Over the past 10 months we have had to contend with huge issues around the Canterbury quakes, supported students
throughout all of this, as well as raise awareness and highlight to students and staff the effects of the Bill. The
National Party tactics and indeed those of Roy are just another kick in the teeth for students in this region as well as
throughout New Zealand”, Harper contends.
Under the current legislative framework, which was introduced by the National Government in 1998, the legislation allows
for students in a referendum to choose between either universal (compulsory membership) or voluntary student membership
of students’ associations. Act’s Bill proposes to essentially take that choice away.
“Students have a choice now and they have exercised this choice in the past. If National and Act feel so strongly about
choice then allow the current legislation to remain. If they cannot allow this legislation to remain, then at the very
least National should let the people speak and allow another referendum. National should allow students the opportunity
to have their say in what affects them,” contends Harper.
“If this is an example of how National behaves as we lead into the elections, how much faith and trust can the
community have in any election promises made by the National Party? What does it take for the Government to listen to
the people it supposedly represents?, asks Harper.
“Obviously they are more than prepared to listen to a crumbling Act Party that will help them to maintain their hold in
Government”, concludes Harper.