VSM on the agenda

August 20th, 2009 at 5:37 pm by David Farrar

Superb news. ’s voluntary student association membership bill (now in the name of ) got drawn from the ballot today.

I’ll be doing a lot of posts on this topic as I have 15 – 20 years worth of research on the pros and cons of .

The Young Nationals and ACT on Campus are excited about the bill being drawn, and no doubt will be campaigning hard for it to be passed.

Very appropriate that the man who gave New Zealand so many of our economic freedoms, may end up also being the person who give students the freedom to choose as individuals whether or not to join a student association.

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33 Responses to “VSM on the agenda”

  1. nickb (3,687 comments) says:

    Excellent stuff!

    A serious question for you though DPF, would National vote for it?

    [DPF: We will find out shortly. I'd be pretty appalled if they didn't at least vote for it to go to select committee]

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  2. jag (52 comments) says:

    If this passes then I think there should be a moment’s silence to spare a tought for the suffering members of Young Labour/Greens who will no longer be able to fine tune their troughing tendancies in Student Associations.

    Then once that moment is over there should be widespread celebrations.

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  3. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    National had better vote for it. It might not be the issue of the century for a large number of people (even as a student I just did not care *that* much) but it is about freedom of association and is therefore standard Tory policy and principle.

    A lot of nonsense will be spouted about this but at the end of the day accountable student unions offering a service will get members. ‘Student services’ (whatever they are) will not be compromised – indeed the majority of things that the student unions hold themselves out as providing are (or should be) user pays (cafes, bars etc) and if not, why not?

    This is just one of those things that should be done because it is right.

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  4. nickb (3,687 comments) says:

    Ok then, good stuff.
    The biggest smile on my face will come from the hysteria whiiped up in the nexus magazine after mid semester break hahaha there is a huge smile on my face at the thought of it.

    National don’t have anything to lose by voting for it in my opinion DPF, those who most vociferously will oppose it are not national voters anyway, and they will be able to put a ‘freedom’ spin on it by portraying all the student politicians as the authoritarian, sanctimonious little wankers they are.

    An acid test of the Nats’ true principles… Anyone know when the first vote will be?

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  5. Viking2 (11,488 comments) says:

    An absolute litmus test I would say.

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  6. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    Very much in favour of this bill. Freedom of association is one of the core freedoms.

    If there are any services that student unions provide that are genuinely critical services, without which a university cannot operate, then those services should be provided under a competitive contract to the university itself, not through bundling those services with a bunch of clearly non-critical stuff, and forcing students to pay for the whole lot.

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  7. donkey (43 comments) says:

    Just What are National core principles anyway, I thought One Law for all was one of them?
    Yet it seems John Key is entertaining separate seats in the super city for one ethnic group!
    Do Maori have preemptive/presumptive rights over other ethnicities or race’s in New Zealand?

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  8. Inventory2 (10,342 comments) says:

    Piss off donkey – your trolling isn’t even subtle.

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  9. dime (9,980 comments) says:

    good stuff!!! i hated having to pay for such garbage!

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  10. bharmer (687 comments) says:

    Though personally inclined to support this in respect of students associations, I wonder if the principle extends to the medical profession, real estate agents, social workers and a whole range of other specialized occupations where compulsory membership is a prerequisite to being allowed into the sandpit to play.

    In most of the cases I mention, there are practical reasons why the people who want to be doctors, accountants, quantity surveyors, architects or whatever, have to meet certain standards before they can hold themselves out as fit to practice. Should one of those standards include membership of the professional body to which certification has been delegated?

    I don’t have the answer, but hope that we at least think it through.

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  11. thedavincimode (6,800 comments) says:

    After a month of rort headlines, we arrive at the biggest rort of the lot. Compulsory student union membership; a post-adolescent version of taxing unwilling contributors to subsidise an attempted entrenchment of pinko politcal dogma in our society. Foisting this bullshit on students is actually no different to stealing taxpayer money to fund a political campaign.

    For heaven’s sake. Students attend to learn and pay for the privilege. A student union??? Well, we’ve already had an unemployed workers’ union (snort), so why be surprised. Maybe we should have a compulsory levy on supermarket shoppers (that would be the supermarket shoppers’ union), pre-schoolers (the kindergarten kiddies union) or hospital patients …

    Of course, the pinkos will hate this because student unions are to pinkos as the mangroves are to snapper. Watch the pricks scream.

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  12. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    The rationale for such compulsion with the medical profession and the like, is to (in an ideal world) regulate the behaviour of members in order to protect the public.

    This rationale does not exist for students. Students do not interact ‘professionally’ with the public as ‘students’, and student unions do not regulate the behaviour of said students (universities are more likey to take disciplinary action against students).

    The ‘public good’ argument does not apply in this case.

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  13. davidp (3,581 comments) says:

    It is a disgrace than NZ isn’t in compliance with one of the articles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We’ve had 61 years to comply:

    Article 20 (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

    http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/

    There is a lot wrong with the UN. But the Declaration is sensible basic stuff that every country should implement.

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  14. The Silent Majority (88 comments) says:

    “It is a disgrace than NZ isn’t in compliance with one of the articles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We’ve had 61 years to comply:

    Article 20 (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.”

    and it is a disgrace also that NZ isn’t in compliance with article 26(3) that “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”

    Sorry, off topic I know, but I couldn’t resist!

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  15. OllieGI (36 comments) says:

    As a student that has tried to leave VUWSA (and they put up a fight and in the end I got lazy) I am so happy and excited! If it passes the first reading I will be at Select Committee supporting it all the way!!! :D

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  16. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    I tried leaving the WSU for a couple of years. Very hard in the last 12 months when I was finishing my PhD in the South island. But hey, at least I could still use all the wonderful facilities and services they provided from 1000km away (bitter laugh).

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  17. dave (988 comments) says:

    Article 20 (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
    No one is compelled to belong to a student association. Studying at uni is a choice too.

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  18. Mike Collins (166 comments) says:

    dave, that argument is kind of like getting up in court and saying “what do you mean I suffocated him? I didn’t force him to try to breathe. It was his choice.”

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  19. Patrick Starr (3,674 comments) says:

    davidp “It is a disgrace than NZ isn’t in compliance with one of the articles of the UN”

    Normally I would say not being in compliance with the UN is an absolute cause for celebration, (just a shame its this one)

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  20. Seán (397 comments) says:

    Haha. I know this is a hot topic for DPF. Who would have thought that the $90 (x 4? years at uni) spent 20 years ago would result in such a grudge? Well he is right though. I wonder, if it passes Student associations will certainly collapse, so what will fill the void?

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  21. Paul Williams (878 comments) says:

    Oh gwad, here we go again! Lucky ACT is focused on the really important issues hey, not just playing to the gallery… and Roger as your sponsor, fabulous (I’m sure Laws and Steel will be proud to be associated with this go-getter ~ I wonder if either of those has-beens even shared the Chamber with this retread).

    David, I fear my experience mirrors your own but I’m grateful I’ll not be reliving this one; way too Groundhog Day for me.

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  22. dave (988 comments) says:

    Well if you are going to get all United Nationy about it…..
    Art 5
    Noone shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
    (but tasers are ok)

    Art 12
    No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence….Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference.
    ( except if that interference is from CYFS.)

    Art 21
    Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
    (but if you are important you`ll go to the top of the health waiting list)

    Art 23
    Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
    ( being a white male helps)

    Art 26
    Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages..
    (although schools do send in the debt collectors for unpaid ” voluntary” donations and 20 hours “free” ECE is not free )

    etc

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  23. wikiriwhis business (4,019 comments) says:

    What did free tertiary education actually mean back in the day.

    That you just paid for text boks and living costs.

    So like, if you passed your UE, it was a free ticket to uni?

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  24. PaulL (5,987 comments) says:

    > Art 5
    > Noone shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
    > (but tasers are ok)

    Which is it? Not torture, not cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Unsure what the problem is?

    > Art 12
    > No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence….Everyone has the right to the protection of > the law against such interference.
    > ( except if that interference is from CYFS.)

    Not arbitrary.

    > Art 21
    > Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
    > (but if you are important you`ll go to the top of the health waiting list)

    Not true

    > Art 23
    > Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
    > ( being a white male helps)

    No evidence. Scientific studies (that correct for qualifications, work hours and time in the workforce) find no difference in pay. And the phrase here is “equal” not “equivalent.” Very different things.

    > Art 26
    > Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages..
    > (although schools do send in the debt collectors for unpaid ” voluntary” donations and 20 hours “free” ECE is not free )

    ECE doesn’t fit this definition, and you can avoid the donations.

    > etc
    Meaning you’re making shit up?

    So, all your examples are wrong. The association one isn’t. Any point to your post?

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  25. peteremcc (344 comments) says:

    The official campaign facebook page is here:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Me/118945002881

    Website coming this weekend.

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  26. William Fussey (45 comments) says:

    VSM – Bring it on baby!

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  27. James (1,338 comments) says:

    > Art 26
    > Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages..
    > (although schools do send in the debt collectors for unpaid ” voluntary” donations and 20 hours “free” ECE is not free )”

    No such thing as a “right to an education”……not when someone else has to provide it. The UN declaration on Human rights is ok up to article 21 then its all contradictory nonsense from there…

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  28. TimG_Oz (862 comments) says:

    While I agree with VSM – especially with the appalling behaviour of students associations, we saw in Australia that this was extremely dangerous politically and fighting the unions actually stirs up support in the community for them. It could be a very bad move politically.

    I reckon getting rid of MMP, or at least replacing it with a more workable system should be higher on the agenda

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  29. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    Too right, kill off the breeding ground for commie bludgers.

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  30. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    I think it is important to note that ‘freedom of association’ is generally regarded as a fundamental right. It does not owe its existence to the UN Declaration.

    As I’ve said before, it is the same right that allows workers to form unions, or people to work for the public sector and not be forced to join the ruling party as members. It is thus something that crosses the usual left and right wing divide. Everybody has a stake in freedom of association. Everybody it appears, accept the scum of human society whose overwhelming belief in the superiority of student unions over human rights.

    You can’t contract out of fundamental human rights. They are in this sense, unalienable. It is fundamentally wrong that we have this facade that students give up their human rights to get an education. We’d think it unacceptable if we made students unable to vote while they studied. Or have the right to freedom of expression. Yet when it comes to freedom of assocoation, suddenly it’s ok to be a ‘little bit evil’.

    No big issue really. Jus like the government’s I used to write to on behalf of AI we have the ‘why worry defence’. {sarcasm alert}It’s not a big deal. Student unions should be allowed to get away with abusing fundamental human rights because really, it’s not a big deal. At the end of the day, human rights really aren’t that important{end sarcasm}.

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  31. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    So like, if you passed your UE, it was a free ticket to uni?

    Pretty much. Or you could go if you got under a certain mark in 6th form cert.

    When I started at Massey I paid fees of about $3-400 (Not sure of exact amount as was back in 1980). There was a health fee and student association levy. I got a standard student allowance of about $20 a week. I managed to get a hadship allowance as well of another $20 as well. My rent and food bill per week was about $25 a week. The rest was beer money. Back then only about 3% of people went to Uni and probably half of those graduated. Having a degree – even a bachelors degree was pretty important in the world if you then wanted to find a decent job. Now? They are pretty worthless unless you do something post-graduate I think.

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  32. Madeleine (230 comments) says:

    Fantastic! They just need to tweak clause 6 to cover back door compulsion a la AUSA’s service levy and get the government to back it.

    Like you David, I have a lot of history invested in this issue and as a current student I really want compulsory membership gone.

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  33. ironswan (14 comments) says:

    The 1999 referendums were weighed ridiculously in favour of the student unions. Lets hope there is no repeat and they go full steam ahead. I am looking forward to re-hearing the many horror stories.

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