“I know… Let’s protest something that makes no difference to us…”

I really am getting sick of hearing about Voluntary Student Membership and how terrible it is. I personally don’t see how moaning is going to make things easier for students associations next year – and it’s certainly not going to stop the bill passing.

But what we saw yesterday at the University of Auckland was utterly ridiculous. The University of Auckland’s students association is the Auckland University Students Association – AUSA. AUSA is currently a voluntary students association. VSM will make absolutely no difference to them. So why are they protesting?

Firstly, because they aren’t students. A number of the people at the protest were the proteges of people like John Minto. They aren’t studying, but they’re protesting because they can. Secondly, because they are trying to cause trouble. There’s no other reason for them to want to protest this other than because they want to protest something.

My campaign to get on the Waikato Students’ Union Board of Directors has been based on VSM not being something that we can moan about any more. It’s something we need to accept and work toward. People who are still protesting don’t have the interests of students at heart. Students who need a students association are being disadvantaged by this, because time would be better spent ensuring students associations will survive VSM. We need to remember that VSM can do damage to students associations if they are not appropriately prepared. If they are, the associations will be fine.


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Posted on September 27, 2011, in New Zealand Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Fair enough argument I suppose in the last paragraph…definitely agree that energy should be focussed into life post-VSM since it’s passing either way, pigs won’t fly.

    No especially strong feelings on VSM myself…but personally I find the Bill ultimately pointless since students already have the choice to choose via referrendum – exhibit A Auckland.

  2. Fully agree. It doesn’t affect me either way. Perhaps AUSA should work more on creating a better social atmosphere at campus than pulling off self-satisfying political stunts.

  3. To be fair, I don’t think it was AUSA that arranged the protest. They put their name to it, but it was arranged by Unite Union.

    I think the question is what is better – collective choice or individual choice? With the currently law, you have collective choice to go voluntary. With the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill, you have individual choice to join, or not join.

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