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Nicholas O’Kane on a Hangover

James Robinson

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Chris Bishop, speaking ever so eloquently at last weeks meeting said that it wasn’t a question of VUWSA needing more money to provide services, it was a question of whether students needed those services. Which is funny coming from a guy who received from VUWSA a 10,000 dollar grant for Australs, and then got VUWSA to lobby the University for another huge chunk of cash.
I heard a great rumour that Chris Bishop was going to run for President on a voluntary student membership ticket. Which makes me smile if it was true. Given the above, it kind of sums up opposition to the levy raise for me.
Though does no one actually realise that for the first time in years people are paying attention? Which is probably the only positive I could take from daring to brave the Salient website after a very large night. O’Kane’s bleating is hard to take on a hangover.
I got up and spoke at that meeting, (completely unplanned) because I felt that a lot of people are being tremendously short sighted in their arguments. And it was not a sign of the great Nick Kelly/ Robinson conspiracy to pry an extra twenty dollars from student hands.
VUWSA is not just the exec. That’s what I think people are missing. First off, if you disagree with an organisation’s direction, have a say. VOTE in the elections for candidates that you want to see on the exec. So you can change it. Just by voting.
You vent your frustrations at the exec, and think you are being ripped off and your money misspent. But that’s just not true. There are a number of tirelessly working people who actually slave for students, who have little to do with the exec. And are totally handicapped by the fact that each year they have to deal with all new people. If the levy isn’t raised, the exec will still stay the same next year, you won’t even be hurting them at all. They’ll still be there. But there will be in 2007 probably (and most likely by 2008), smaller and less frequent editions of Salient, reduced presence at Uni Games and Winter Games, smaller resources for clubs, no bus passes between campuses, little to no Orientation, reduced Educational representation. And the people directly involved and affected by these work mostly independently of the Exec.
When Nick O’Kane stands up and cries out corruption because in 2005, money was spent on photographs and honoraria and that this is corruption, is bollocks. VUWSA is an organisation like any other, money is spent on routine administerial matters, and also VUWSA is one of the least financially rewarding places to work for. Though, have your say, make your case and the exec can work for free.
But as always, you get what you pay for.
Someone even went as far as saying that the University could do everything that VUWSA could. But think about it this way. If the University did do this, I guarantee you they wouldn’t go about doing it in the most economical way possible. Your fees would go up by a little more than twenty dollars. And would you want the University providing an advocacy service against itself? That sounds like a great plan!
I propose that such matters are decided at the yearly VUWSA election thingy. Kinda like what happens in America. Because America is always right.
People snipe about the fact that Wellington has no University community or culture. And in my five years in Wellington I’ve watched it whither on the vine. Now instead of being a town with a poorly attended Orientation, you want to be a town with no Orientation. Where clubs membership is low. With a poor student publication and where students don’t have a voice.
Victoria isn’t really equipped to deal with Voluntary Student Unionism. The University would provide a number of the services VUWSA does, but they definitely wouldn’t do it for free. VUWSA has resources in the Trust, but it’s not set up to make private investment like AUSA.
It’s a mess, and this problem should have been spotted earlier, and was raised in 2005 (as was bought to my attention last night) in Salient. If this levy raise does not go through, I am glad I won’t be around here for too much longer.
The levy raise, is a last minute solution. But punish the exec come election time, don’t handicap those that had no role in the fact that it was allowed to get this out of hand.