18 September 2014
The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) is imploring students to ensure they make their voices heard this election, and join the many thousands who have already heeded the call.
“We have arranged early voting at every university and a number of polytechnic campuses, produced tens of thousands of pamphlets that explain different parties’ policies and have had volunteers enrolling and assisting students to vote over the last two weeks. We have no doubt that this has contributed to the fact that by Tuesday more people had already early voted this election than early voted in total in the last election,” said Daniel Haines, NZUSA President.
“But the main thing we offer students is the fruit of more than two years’ worth of lobbying and engagement with various political parties to present students with some genuine choices this election, all in line with what students have told us they want through our surveys.”
“Although National has been largely dismissive of students’ concerns, John Key admitted to Victoria University’s student paper Salient that the current student allowance scheme is unfair and that students are suffering. He says there’s not enough money to do anything about it. Two of National’s current support parties though, United Future and the Māori Party, want a review of student support, with United Future keen on extending the accommodation supplement to all students and the Māori Party advocating for a universal allowance for all fulltime students.”
“The Conservative Party, albeit not in Parliament and yet to release their full tertiary policy, are proposing making tertiary education free for a number equivalent to the majority of current fulltime students, and we understand wish to explore abolishing existing debt.”
“Even better policies for student appear on the other side of the current House. New Zealand First and the Green Party both want student allowances for all, the gradual abolition of tuition fees, and an exploration into reducing the impact of debt. Labour will restore post-graduate allowances, and review the whole system of student support to improve students’ access to education.”
“Every party from United Future to Internet MANA wishes to implement NZUSA’s First-in-Family Scholarships that will make tertiary education free and give appropriate additional support for students who are first in their immediate family to study towards a degree.”
“Internet MANA promises the immediate introduction of universal allowances and fee-free tertiary education and will have a proposal to abolish existing debt within the parliamentary term. They, the Greens and the Māori Party have proposals for free public transport that will save significant amounts of money for 75% of current students.”
“From the Māori Party to Internet MANA a majority of both the current and likely future Parliaments will restore the student voice on campus and prevent it being taken from institutions’ governance tables. New Zealand First also supports investing in capacity building to ensure students have a real say over what, how and why they learn.”
“The facts are that 60% of students are concerned about their level of debt, and its impact on their future lives, the average student lives in significant financial distress, unable to afford the basic things that they need and too many living in substandard conditions, student voice is being marginalised and fees increase inexorably at twice the rate of inflation.”
“Students, you face real choices this election, and given there are 417,516 people engaged in tertiary education in New Zealand, you are part of 14% of the total voting population. If you think of yourself as a student and cast your votes for a better tertiary education system then you can make or change the government.”