THE CANDIDATE’S forum for the latest VUWSA by-election drew a small crowd last week, with the two nominees delivering speeches and addressing questions in between the occasional heckling.
Following the withdrawl of a third candidate, Heleyni Pratley and Alexander Neilson remain in the running for two positions on the VUWSA general executive. Pratley admitted a preference for the post of Activities Officer, a role she has already been co-opted for. When questioned about her motives behind running for a permanent position in VUWSA, she replied, “VUWSA needs me.” Neilson, a first year student, says the apathy of his fellow students was a motivation in running for VUWSA. Not to be regarded as a reflection of popular opinion, an unnamed source described Neilson as “boring as a brick.”
Both candidates confessed to a conflict of interest. Pratley is the girlfriend of Education Vice-President Joel Cosgrove, while Neilson is involved with Young Labour. Pratley and Neilson both dismissed potential issues, with Pratley predicting a negative impact, if any, on her relationship with Cosgrove as opposed to such an impact on VUWSA.
Neilson acknowledged that the role of a student activist may involve campaigning against the government. When issued an ultimatum between VUWSA President Nick Kelly and Prime Minister Helen Clark in the case of fire – Neilson avoided a decision and instead replied diplomatically, “burning buildings aren’t my specialty.”
Voting opened last Friday and continues until Thursday, with all votes to be cast online through emails distributed to student email addresses. Students who do not receive an email are instructed to visit the VUWSA office at the Kelburn campus.