The withdrawal could be the death knell for NZUSA, which has narrowly clung on to disillusioned students’ associations for the past few years.
NZUSA is the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations, with 14 students’-association members. Each students’ association pays an annual fee to NZUSA which is based on the size and financial viability of the association. This year, VUWSA’s contribution was $45,000.
“Students gave us the mandate to stay if there were significant reforms. There haven’t been. Now what’s important is having the conversation to make sure there’s a strong national voice on student issues, in a more effective use of $45,000 student dollars. We take our fiduciary responsibility with students’ money seriously.”
I think it is important students have strong voices. Of course there is no one universal view among students. I suspect more students voted National than any other party, yet NZUSA has never been a voice for those students. They are almost part of the Labour-Greens machine.
So how to have effective representation for students at the national level?
What I would do if I was VUWSA, is get together with the saner student associations such as OUSA, UCSA and the like and put say $15,000 in each to a Wellington based professional company such as Education Directions, Saunders Unsworth, Ideas Shop, Senate SHL etc and hire them to advocate for the interests of tertiary students. They won’t organise petitions against asset sales, but they would do high quality submissions to Ministers, departments and select committees – and would be able to advise and implement effective strategy.