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Students have better alternative to VSM - NZUSA

Tuesday 27 Sep 2011 7:38 a.m.

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New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) co-president David Do says students have proposed a “balanced solution”  instead of a Government bill which will make student union membership voluntary.

Mr Do says students support the current law, under which they are automatically enrolled in the union and must “apply to opt out based on conscientious objection or financial hardship”.

“[Students] oppose ACT’s bill, that’s why they are protesting, and they feel increasingly frustrated and appalled that the Government is continuing to ignore their voice on this issue,” he says.

Mr Do says NZUSA has proposed “a better way to improve the current law” by implementing a “KiwiSaver-style” scheme which would make it easier for students to opt out.

“We believe that is far better than ACT’s quite extreme bill… sadly National has ignored that proposal to date.

“National still have an opportunity to take that on board.”

Auckland students protested against Voluntary Student Membership (VSM) yesterday with a rally, followed by around 200 students occupying the university’s business school.

Students blocked police from leaving and knocked over a security guard, but Mr Do says he believes the protest was peaceful.

“My understanding is that students peacefully entered, peacefully stayed and peacefully exited the building,” he says.

“Congratulations to the students for standing up for their education and their voice.”

The bill is expected to pass its third reading tomorrow. Mr Do says “students will be continuing to show their opposition” before the reading.

Watch the video for the full interview

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