“Do you thinks the law change is a good thing? If you were or are a student, how much value do you think you got from the student association and would you join voluntarily if you were a student?”
I have been a student at an institution with compulsory membership and I don’t think I received any value from it. Worse than that I do get sick of those, like David Do, who presume to speak for everyone.
I heard David Do on 9-Noon the other day (from Radio NZ’s awesome iPhone App) and he sounded like a BS spouting Labour MP in training. The only line he could use was the fact that Auckland’s Student Union sold down assets to fund lost revenue so he got to deamonise over TWO of the left’s hot button issues. He tried to say that the law was unnecessary because of an exisiting conscience objection clause and backed down when Kathrine Ryan pressed him on the numbers who execised this right (just over a dozen per year!). It was abundantly clear that Ho bought into Parliamentary Labour’s line that the Bill would be defeated and so made virtually no effort to prepare for life under VSM because then he objected to the speed on implimentation. Fortunately the Student Choice representative calmly and firmly made the case for freedom and cited the various Student Unions in Australasia that have coped OK.
My years at Canterbury never saw me recoup the costs of my UCSA fees. Who knows how much the O week tickets were subsidised and I’m sure the Cafes were run on a commerical basis. Many of the on campus Societies that had assets and offered good activities did so from their own dues rather than any gobs of money from UCSA and people joined anyway (eg ENGSOC) regardless of fees because of the coolness factor (ENGSOC ran the Undie 500′s and infamous steins and chunder miles for years). Student politics was dominated by radical feminist anti vivisectionist pro gay whale hairy armpit PC types who bored the pants off 95% of the student population.
In a labour market long rid of compulsory unionism, the status quo that the Labour Party pathetically fought to keep was an expensive anachronism. Congratulations Heather Roy for stiking to your guns – great way to bow out!
Wonderful that students get choice, now how about extending choice to Rugby fans?
That’s right, Rugby Fans – who get little choice in the clothes they can wear to RWC games, who get NO choice in they beer they drink at RWC games and after game celebrations/commiserations and who are milked for every $ they have.
Why should the IRB be allowed to monopolise the game? Let the teams decide!
mikenmild – well it’s not the biggest denial of freedom, but $100 dollars (or whatever the fee is) is not insignificant. What if a person broke into your home and stole that sum from your wallet? It wouldn’t be the end of the world for you to lose 100 dollars but would you shrug your shoulders and think “oh well”. No, you’d expect the situation to be remedied. So too this situation needed to be remedied. There is in my view no reasonable justification for student unions to be able to forcefully take money off students who do not consent in order to be a political advocacy group promoting ideas many students may not agree with.
How would you like it if money was taken off of you to fund National’s election campaign? Oh whoops. It IS taken off you, which kinda shows the hypocrisy of the political right in this case.
I’ve never argued that compulsory student unions were a good idea – the best unions always had voluntary membership. I’ve just been vastly amused by the fuss over this, as though it was the grossest breach of personal freedom imaginable.
mikenmild – True. Especially considering how silent National and ACT are on the money forcefully taken from the taxpayer to fund their election campaign. What happened to freedom and voluntary action? Hmmmmm.
“I’ve just been vastly amused by the fuss over this, as though it was the grossest breach of personal freedom imaginable.”
Except you take that line with EVERY left wing policy or ideological lunacy the Right opposes. Its always “oh well thats not that important”.
Its called “soft-soaping”. Trying to make genuinely bad policies out to be just little things that we shouldnt make a fuss about.
Its the same with policies the Right is in favour of, like Nationals welfare reform proposal. With you its always “Its just populism, it wont achieve anything.”
Now if you used these lines only once in a while I might believe you, but you use them with every policy that the Right proposes, which looks very suspicious after a while.
In fact it looks like dishonest debate framing. Its not that you really believe that this policy is not worth much of a fuss or that policy won’t work, its just a dishonest propaganda line to downplay the concerns of the Right.
OK DPF I ironically ran ( if you remember an election ) and then discovered for financial reasons was disqualified from standing for, have held my silence on this issue. My gut feeling is to agree with Trotter on this but I rememeber Mrs R who you will remember well, ringing me on two occasions at about 7.30 – 8.00 am. demanding I came in and cleaned up the mess in the executive office’s and explaining in a massivly hung over state that I had nothing to do with it ( true in both cases ) I was getting pissed else where.
I have as I suspect you have been to a OUSA piss up’s funded by OUSA but for the record I do not remember you at one so could be wrong on that. I do remember you at the Cook. Often.
My point I guess is accountability and student associations have become massivly unaccountable hell we were talking a keg of beer and it might have been justified but we had to get the Mrs. R agreement to do it. When Mrs. R & K ran the OUSA it functioned well. The fraud that happens today me think sorry no way.
This is not a bad move in that it will stop the shit but it is a bad move in that it will probably give funding to the educational institutions.Students will not save monet but they will lose influence.
I never really understood the need for a lot of these student services. It’s as if some people need someone to hold their hand just to go to class. Indeed many of these services include things like student advocates which help you with a range of issues like employment and tenancy issues. Can people seriously not manage their own affairs? I’m not saying these services are necessarily a bad thing if you think you need them, I just never saw any value in them for me personally and don’t see why I should have to pay for those that do.
To be honest the fees paid for themselves just with free gym. Annual gym memberships are up around a grand, whereas they’ve been free up til now.
They should just have just set up a fund that was only for the gym handled by administrators in the uni, with the funds kept away from the association. That’s about the only thing worth paying the rates for. Student health and gym are the things people use, and 3 dollar lunches.
And as to whether people who don’t go to the gym should have been paying the $50 dollars for people who did go, well given a les mills single appearance is about $20, 2 trips to unipol in a whole year would have covered it, so it’s actually a pretty good deal.
But I am glad people will have a choice, as long as those three core services that people really do need/should have are available.
I think the major change to result from this will be that those of us who do chose to join the unions will have a much greater sense of ownership and interest in how that money is being spent.
I rather suspect we will be somewhat indiferent to the light of non-members who suddenly feel the need for our services and we will most likely take a much greater interest in the AGM’s that vote the union leaderships budgets through.
You stop bloody well offering people “free” pizza to vote for you inflated personal salleries for a start!
The union leadership is going to have to earn its keep for a change.
Well, the issue was important enough to take every private member’s bill off the agenda this year. I guess someone thought it was worth a lot of time and effort… A lot more time and effort than a few blog posts, anyway
As nasty right-wingers we simply treated this as more freedom of choice, but of course we’re not able to peer inside the NZ left-wing and explain exactly why they treated this as such a big deal, so …
against a background of nothing, enthusiastsopponents saw this as more important than perhaps it was.
… switching the debate framing around 180 degrees might provide a more interesting debate – especially if left-wingers choose to really think about and explain why Labour decided to die in this particular ditch.
You sick puppy – you want to indoctrinate kids by intimidating teachers into supporting your socialist world view.
Smells like fascism to me, toad!
FFS toad, how can you take a stance against teachers being under an ideology when currently the teachers are almost completely unionised ( exception with private schools noted ) on a collective contract and their union is a staunch supporter of a single political party. Oh I know how you can do it – that ideology fits your world view so its OK.
I thought you had more substance than just ad hominem attacks.
As nasty right-wingers we simply treated this as more freedom of choice, but of course we’re not able to peer inside the NZ left-wing and explain exactly why they treated this as such a big deal…
It is a lot more complicated than the simple “freedom of choice” argument. It is totally different from the issue of compulsory unionism, because students don’t have the choice of saying “get fucked” to their tertiary institution (which workers have to their employer), packing their bags, and going somewhere else.
…how can you take a stance against teachers being under an ideology when currently the teachers are almost completely unionised ( exception with private schools noted ) on a collective contract and their union is a staunch supporter of a single political party.
For a start, I don’t support that (Labour) party, but it is the democratic right of a union to do so.
I really wish teachers would make a democratic decision in their unions to support the Green Party. Sadly, for me, they haven’t, despite the total incompetence of Tolley as the Minister and a poor performance by Labour in opposition.
“…and their union is a staunch supporter of a single political party.”
No. The union is not a supported of that political party it is that political party.
Labour is a vehicle owned and controlled by the (mostly state sector) unions to plunder the workers in the productive sector.
When a Labour government “negotiates” with teachers, it is in effect teachers “negotiating” with themselves and taking as much as they think they can get away with.
Same in Britain, and the Democrats in the US.
Just one example. In Britain the last Labour government gave millions to unions as a “modernisation” fund. It was in reality just free money for their backers. And sure enough, plenty of that taxpayers’ money was recycled to the Labour Party as union contributions.
I am not talking of the few who ripped off the cash for their own use such as the Whitireia case.
I mean ALL the cash that your leftie flunkies misappropriate to feed into the coffers of your socialist masters the Labour party, who we all know are fuckin broke.
ALL students NOW have the democratic choice, they can join the student union or not as they see fit, secure in the knowledge that none of their precious cash will be siphoned off to feed the ever greedy maw of the bloody socialists.
I hope you get to see the teachers being individually assessed and education generally liberated from the curse of a failed ideology. Sure some teachers can still choose to band together, be called all the same and continue to get underpaid the same, and fight the man if they want to. However its ridiculous to bind their employment to a single ideology. It seems you acknowledge that but go along with it because status quo fits your world view. You are completely bereft of principle, are you a politician by any chance ?
As some one how was “required” to fund the Labour party incubator that was OUSA in the late 80′s early 90′s, I am pleased to see that the university students are now allowed the freedom to choose that the rest of us have had for about 25 years now. Well done ACT and National.
Guess what, if those student radio stations, wimmins groups et el were worth it, the students will flock to pay for it. But I won’t be holding my breath. Where one goes to learn how to roll one’s own organic tampon will become one of life’s mysteries.
“A small number of student representatives misappropriated money, so we’ll deny all students democratic rights as punishment.”
I see that the misappropriation of money has been raised by right-wingers, and in the case of Victoria it certainly seemed to be an ongoing problem.
But for me and others at Waikato the occasional booze up on student money was not the problem and the argument is a strawman. The primary reason we did not give a stuff about the student union was that it never did anything for us that we valued. There’s no point arguing that we should have appreciated all they did for us, the fact is that we did not. It’s that simple, and the pathetic turnout of student protestors around the country is as clear a demonstration as one could get that it is the same today.
In addition, what we did see was a union regularly run by activists who were willing to spend most of their time on politics and able to do so courtesy of apparently having less demanding courses and exams. Moreover the resulting activities of the unions in the hands of these people were directed at things we either did not give a stuff about or to which we did not agree. But of course the majority rules, and if one could not afford the time and energy to partake of the political process then one had to live with the votes of a quorum of 20-30. As I recall the atmosphere it was something along the lines of if you really cared, you’d be here. Since you weren’t, you don’t and you get to live with the results. That’s democracy! That last line usually delivered with a sneer, because you know that everything is political and to deny that just puts you into the working cog role that your “meal-ticket” degree is preparing you for.
Then we got to see many of these paragons of political virtue toddle on to future roles on the national political stage as activists, advisors or even politicians themselves. What a life career.
Now, not being forced to contribute money to that crap and to those people anymore is described by you as being to deny all students democratic rights as punishment! Seriously? Being compelled to do something is democratic? The removal of the complusion and it’s replacement with choice is “punishment”? You’re going to have to make better arguments than something as laughable as a 2011 version of Newspeak.
It is totally different from the issue of compulsory unionism, because students don’t have the choice of saying “get fucked” to their tertiary institution (which workers have to their employer), packing their bags, and going somewhere else.
They don’t? Funny, but I recall any number of fellow students flicking between various universities in NZ. The one thing they could not escape was compulsory membership in a student union. In any case I don’t follow the thinking here: presumably you’re making the argument for the value of a student union defending students against the university? Well perhaps. I don’t recall many such cases and the ones I do seemed to involve Masters students in some shitfight that the union turned out to be useless to resolve – although it made for great opportunities for agitation, protests, letter writing and all the rest of the paraphernalia of the youthful political activist.
Still not worth my money though, nor my tacit agreement resulting from the compulsory membership of a hijacked workplace, which – again – is the bottom line here. Student Unions failed because ultimately students did not want or value what the union (or it’s leaders) offered.
There’s a wider lesson there for the left-wing. Perhaps that explains the resistance to this, for who wants to discover the bitter truth that they’re not wanted or needed.
But non-students haven’t had the freedom to choose for the last 25 years. While you are congratulating ACT and National, both of them have received large amounts of taxpayers funds for their election campaigns. You are forced to pay them so they can tell you to vote for them. How is that very different to being forced to pay for students’ associations to launch political campaigns on your behalf?
National has grabbed $1,150,000 from the taxpayer and ACT has taken $160,000 to broadcast their propaganda on TV. They shouldn’t be congratulated, they should be outed for their hypocrisy. It’s all about voluntary participation up until the point they have their own snouts in the trough it seems.
@ Toad: I want to chip in here about Anne Tolley. Why do you think she is incompetent? She has done a capable job in the face of sneering recalcitrance, undeserved contempt and an unprecedented sustained campaign against policies people voted for. It’s a tough portfolio but she has really found her feet.
Here is one Anne Tolley idea for example. She came up with a very simple policy to help the 4000 or so kids who drop out of high school each year with nothing, 90% of whom end up on the benefit. Anne’s idea was to change the funding arrangements for these children. Up to now schools have been funded at the beginning of a year a fixed sum for the kids.
If a kid dropped out, the schools already had the money for them so had no reason to care – it was actually good for the schools.
Anne’s idea was to fund kids every 3 months, rather then every 12. Further, the funding is now contingent on a kids attendance.
Up til Anne Tolley, schools were being funded for 4000 kids, NOT. AT. SCHOOL.
A genius situation, not regarded as a problem by Labour and not identified by the Greens, although a minor does lack some resources. Now, if a kid leaves, all of a sudden a school faces a swift drop in funding.
Lo and Behold, like magic Anne has given these kids WORTH.
This simple, intelligent idea like magic renders these difficult kids much more attractive to schools. It also has made polytechs and trade-based institutions lift their games enormously to offer these kids compelling alternatives. Schools/poly-techs/training institutions are now competing for these kids services. It’s amazing. Bill English is also supporting Maori Wananga initiatives that are completely independent of the Ministry. A guy out of Te Puke is running it. He has great ideas. For instance Maori kids find it tough to get to uni, so he is running classes in or next to uni’s when they’re not being used!
This are examples of really smart policy that makes institutions self-aware and dynamic, not smug, stultified and complacent.
Would you agree that this is a great way to help people Toad?
This is the kind of smart, efficient, caring policy that the National government is emulating in every portfolio. It’s the same with National’s welfare policies for pregnant mothers who have formerly been left to rot. Treating people as people, not as statistics. Helping names, not identities/ethnicities..
I know it’s counter-intuitive to the left-wing mythology in New Zealand. However, the Maori party has picked up on this aspect of National. You guys should too, because you would really get a hearing on a lot of issues with National. I suspect Labour would actually be patronising and see you guys as encroaching on some mythical territory they perceive as theirs.
This is an example of the substance behind why National is riding high. They are simply smarter and actually more compassionate then Labour. I firmly believe National respects your party the Greens more then Labour does. I thought/think the Greens home insulation policy was excellent, and I’ve noticed that Labour is always stealing your parties policies.
A lot of the comments on here are full of polemic, and it’s all good fun. But the difference I believe is that most right-wing people will give a hearing respectfully rather then treat green ideas as utter trash before they are even uttered. It would be great if you guys could also adapt your attitude slightly and improve relations with National. I think you would be surprised what you could achieve.
Aside from David’s pleasure at seeing the VSM Bill pass (for reasons well articulated by many in this thread), of particular interest to anyone following this was the incredible lengths that Labour went to defeat this law. To block up the consideration of EVERY private and local members bill for over a year was an unprecedented act of political sabotage – one that ultimately failed but prevented dozens of private members bills from Labour backbenchers, the Greens and others from ever seeing the light of day. I haven’t scanned the order papers to see the tenor of bills that were in the ballot but I can bet your bottom dollar that some real big pet projects of centre left MPs languished and died due to Labour’s filibustering tactics. It was a spectacular own goal (in the midst of a number of other Labour ‘own goals’) and was a fascinating insight into the priorities of Labour and the value they placed on the way compulsory student union memberhip acted as such a perfect incubator for its budding MPs.
That this shameless tactic came to its ignominious end was well worthy of 4 posts.
I find it ironic that the usual leftists and apologists on Kiwiblog continue to bleat about the passing of this Legislation when the very thrust was to give students….. freedom of choice!
If the services on offer from the various student associations are deemed to be value for money (by the students paying the money), then there’ll be a queue to pay and join up – but this legislation simply removed the element of compulsion.
Let me put it simply: you pay tax to fund television election advertisements for the Labour Party and the Greens. You pay them so they can tell you to vote for them. If you have a problem with being forced to pay for students’ associations which are effectively political lobby groups, then I would expect you have a problem with being forced to pay for the electioneering of Labour and the Greens (and all the other parties). I expect that, in the spirit of individual freedom and voluntary action, you would support a law that enabled you to voluntarily contribute to political campaigns rather than being forced to support political groups you don’t agree with.