Why NZ Students should fight for Universal Union Membership 

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Universities and schools only care about International Students because of the money they can make…

Schools stripped of international cash going back to basics

Macleans hosts around 300 foreign students, each paying $19,500 for the privilege – a total of about $5.5 million – and that money goes straight into the discretionary spending coffers, effectively doubling the school’s operating budget.

Macleans isn’t alone – nationwide, secondary schools took in more than $170 million from international students in 2018.

…this focus on making cash by exploiting foreign students means domestic students are treated like second class citizens…

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Sexual violence, racism and exploitation: The sad state of student housing in New Zealand

Sexual violence, racism and exploitation are all prevalent in the halls of residence at Victoria University, according to the university’s student association.

Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) has released its submission to the inquiry into student accommodation with students detailing horror stories they have faced while living in halls of residence.

It is part of a national discussion on New Zealand’s under-regulated student accommodation sector.

One student living at Stafford House in 2019, said their bond was withheld because a flatmate left soap and a few food packets in the flat.

…the reality is that Students today have no power.

Since ACT & National made Universal Student Unions illegal, (a piece of law I spoke against at Select Committee in 2010), Student power and voices have been eroded and strangled off.

If Universal Student Unions were reimplemented, Universities and Tech institutes would be forced to listen to them or deal with the backlash.

The exploitation we have allowed to occur here is outrageous and in its second term, the next Labour Government must look to repeal the 2010 law and get Universal Student Unions back so that this exploitation can end.

Here was my 2010 submission against Voluntary Student Unionism:

This bill threatens to undermine the work that student associations do which enriches NZ culturally By pooling resources, student associations create a variety of different spaces where artists and journalists can learn and experiment, and with some great results. Those of us working in the media stimulating debate around political issues and encouraging critical thinking and political participation are also helping to make our democracy better. Students’ associations have made a vital contribution to that work.

This Bill would bring about a series of disastrous results and it would be foolish to discount the negative effects on the arts and media – and all because a few ACT party members are opposed to any kind of collectivism.

I understand some members have been concerned about the impact on Sports teams, I’m concerned with the impact on the arts and politics, all benefit from compulsory student unionism.

For those with real ideological issues with collective representation, they have always had the ability to argue their case and opt out of being a union member, so the gains caused by abolishing the perceived human rights abuse of compulsory student unionism in my mind certainly doesn’t add up.

I don’t wish to be cynical, but it seems the pointless crushing of the student union movement is more an ideological patsy for Sir Rodger Douglas to stop talking about flat tax. Which in itself is a foolish suggestion, as nothing could stop Sir Rodger Douglas from talking about flat tax.

Student Unionism creates a hothouse for sports, politics and arts, shutting it down because of ideological vanity is unnecessary political vandalism.

I thank the committee for allowing me the opportunity to express my opinion on this issue to you today.

…it’s not just student welfare that needs vocalising. The climate crisis, the need to lower the voting age and a means for young people to have the resource to give their own issues platform are all solved by Universal Student Union Membership.

The time is now to push this issue.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. “NZ”… yeah, the horse has long since bolted on that one… the “NZ” underclass should fight for a CGT… the “NZ” people (including citizens and non-citizens!?!) should fight for a tearing up of the Free Slave Agreement with the Chinese dictatorshit [sic]… etcetera…

  2. I was at university when all this was being pushed through. At the time we thought compulsory unionism was terribly unfair and were easy- meat for the new-right’s arguments. We simply had no idea what the alternative would lead to – but then most of us were bought up in secure middle class homes in a country that looked after it’s people, we had never seen hard times or genuine abuse of power.

    One generation later and now our kids are learning the lessons we never did.

  3. This should be a reminder, we have to stand for what we believe what is right for NZ citizens. I am ok with lowering of the age to qualify in exercising to vote.

  4. Mandatory general election voting now, please, thank you?
    Dog? Must register.
    Car? Must WOF and REG and operator be licensed to operate on a public road
    Passport? Must get if travelling.
    Motorcycle? Must WOF and REG and operator be licensed to operate on a public road.
    Gun? Must be licensed to own and operate.
    The above things and activities are mandatory and yet voting in general elections where we elect those whom we hope to God we can trust and will best serve us, isn’t? An activity that people, not much more than kids went over seas to shoot and kill others so as we may, or may not vote. “Vote? Who cares? Meh?” was never said at Normandy or Flanders
    The very act of ‘voting’ is a great and hard won privilege and yet we can simply not give a fuck on that one day every three years.
    Has anyone else wondered why that is?
    We must , by LAW, register Ms Miffy the labradoodlespaniel but only vote if you’ve got nothing else better to do on that day, or whatever?
    In who’s interests [is] it that we, those of us who are not the dominant, greedy losers we know oh so well, don’t vote?
    What do they gain at the expense of what we lose? ( Well, that fucking Ferrari for a starter.)
    Trust me. ‘They’ll’ be crunching the numbers because as sure as God made little green apples, they’ll be strategising as to how ‘they’ maintain their status quo at the expense of ours.
    The Vote? Not only a right but a requirement.

  5. I was a dipshit sorry bastard of a student journalist in the day. Months on a story about how only 3 (?) people had voted for the student rep on the Polytech board.

  6. Unions and student unions are the training grounds of the Left, just as primordial swamps and tobacco companies are for the Right.

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