ACT and National will push voluntary student association bill through parliament this week on the last Members Day. We can expect a good deal of student opposition around the country. Good for them.
Next year, students won’t pay any fees to student associations. That’s inevitable, would you pay your council rates if they were voluntary? Wherever student associations have become voluntary they effectively collapsed.
What happens next?
Well, the university, polytech or institution will step in, charge students a levy, and continue some of the services through subcontracting companies or students to do it for them. It’s already been gazetted (NZ Gazette No. 138). Institutions can charge students for: advocacy and legal advice, careers advice and guidance, counselling services, employment information, financial support and advice, health servieces, childcare facilities, sports and recreation facilities.
In other words, all the stuff that supports students and makes these institutions of learning vital, interesting places.
So, voluntary student association membership will result in … money taken off students compulsorily, leaving them with no power to determine what services are kept. Taxation without representation is one way it can be represented.
The National-Act spin that student associations are the last bastions of compulsory unionism is bollocks … it’s idealogy pure and simple.
We could’ve had a good, enduring Bill with an opt out clause and some rules around accountability of student association spending. I’d spoken a number of times with Heather Roy about some possibilities. She was willing to compromise when she her Bill looked in doubt but held the hard line when she thought she’d get it through.
Too bad, fortunately it won’t last long.