Peter Dunne's decision not to support a bill requiring student voices on university councils is disappointing, says the national student union.
Mr Dunne, a former University of Canterbury Students' Association President, sided with ACT and the National Party to vote down David Cunliffe's bill 61-60 this afternoon.
NZUSA President Rory McCourt asks "Why didn't Parliament take the opportunity to send this bill to select committee and reach a lasting compromise on the size of university councils and the place of student voice?"
"Instead, Steven Joyce's unwanted legislation continues. It doesn't make our universities better, but it does make independent voices optional."
"Students and staff are what make our universities. We should be supporting those independent voices at every opportunity."
Mr McCourt says voting down the bill will send students a message.
"First the Government kneecapped independent student unions and has now voted twice to allow students to be kicked out of decision-making. Clearly the student voice is no longer important. Critical voices are not wanted."
Mr McCourt says independent student voice produced politicians from all stripes, including cabinet ministers Paula Bennett and Hekia Parata, as well as fresh National MP Todd Muller. He wishes that they would do more to ensure independent student voice could continue to come through.
Mr McCourt is thankful for the support of New Zealand First, the Maori Party, the Greens and Labour on the issue.