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More constitutional amendments touted

Justin Williams



More amendments to the VUWSA constitution were proposed last week, ahead of this week’s Initial General Meeting.
One major change is to the structure of representative groups, of which there are twelve on campus. In the future, in order to be recognised rep groups must have a membership of at least 500 students, compared with the current rule that doesn’t impose limits.
Three other provisions relating to rep groups have been suggested by Publications Committee student representative Nick O’Kane. If passed, rep groups must be an incorporated society – providing greater accountability, develop a written public constitutional document and have formalised a democratic governance structure. Finally, O’Kane wants to set rep group budgets based on the number of members.
VUWSA’s lawyers Kensington Swan believe that the amendments would have ‘implications for current rep groups who are not structured in a way that will comply’. They also state that attempts to control Ngai Tauira (the Maori students rep group) finances would violate VUWSA’s Treaty of Waitangi responsibilities and invalidate future editions of the Memorandum of Understanding between VUWSA and the Maori student association Ngai Tauira.
Welfare Vice President Maddy Drew called the changes “unworkable” and says it is obvious that O’Kane does not know anything about rep groups, most of which do not fit the criteria specified – “according to the information we have”.
As reported last week, VUWSA had received a motion proposing a change of VUWSA electoral system to Single Transferable Vote (STV). Under this system, the size of the student executive will be determined by voter turnout with any missing out been considered a representative outside the executive.
Other amendments put forward by O’Kane will allow students to hold more then one general position at any one time. Another motion would change the Executive pay structure. It would increase the President’s full-time salary while setting salaries for the remaining members. A cap on bonuses would also be implemented.
The VUWSA IGM is your chance to make changes to the VUWSA Constitution and have your say on VUWSA policy. It will be held in the Quad on Wednesday at 12.30. A quorum of 100 is necessary, and constitutional changes require a two-thirds majority.