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VSM Bill Will Set Students Free

Posted on 20 Aug 2009

The drawing of my Education (Freedom of Association) Members Bill is the first step in liberating students from the flawed and out-dated law that forces them to join their local student association and steals their right to make their own decisions, ACT New Zealand MP Sir Roger Douglas said today.

"Student associations are one of only a few organisations in New Zealand that can compel membership and it is students who have paid the price," Sir Roger said.

"For instance, forcing students to join and pay its fees provides associations with a guaranteed stream of income – resulting in a seeming lack of accountability to properly manage the pool of money this income creates. This has been seen in the numerous cases of mis-management that has occurred at student associations around the country.

"Further, student associations purport to represent the views and desires of the wider student body – yet most are dominated by a small minority of student politicians who prefer to push their own agenda and promote their own views rather than those of the majority.

"ACT has long campaigned to right this wrong, with my Bill having previously been in the ballot under the name of my colleague Hon Heather Roy in the last Parliamentary term.

"We allow students to choose what university or polytechnic they attend, and what papers to take; it’s time we gave them the freedom to choose whether or not to join their local student association rather than forcing them to pay a union fee if they want to study," Sir Roger said.


Currently, every student

Currently, every student union can become voluntary via referendum.

This is regulation for the sake of regulation, something Act despises when it suits them.

Meh, this is pretty much

Meh, this is pretty much un-necessary. It was sorted in the '90s - members of associations can currently choose if they want voluntary membership or compulsory for their assoc. And I can't really see how government forcing them to be different to what they've chosen is "freedom"!?!

ACT should be fighting Nat's stealth tax increases rather than wasting time with largely pointless window dressing.

I presume you would all be

I presume you would all be happy if you were forced to join your local tennis clubs?

You wouldn't really be forced though, because you'd just have to convince half of the members to be able to not be a member again!

Ridiculous argument!

Freedom of association

Freedom of association should never be at the pleasure of the majority. Just because there exists an avenue to achieve VSM currently, this doesn't mean students get the choice whether to join their association of right. This bill will achieve that.

Look you larrikins! Your

Look you larrikins! Your whole argument that membership is voluntary is completely flawed. Students may be able to vote on whether or not they want membership to be voluntary in theory but simply put this is never going to happen. Why? One simple reason.
Firstly, students are inherently lazy, and they don't really care about the student association, the membership money simply comes out of their loan and therefore they never really feel like they are paying for anything. To organise a referendum amongst the student population would be require a massive amount of time, effort and money, 3 things that students don't have.

For such a referendum to be organised it would take a large body of students with the time, energy and money to run a campaign. Hmmm, say like a students association. Here is the fatal flaw, why on earth would a student association possibly want to spark up a referendum on whether or not it should be compulsory to give them money? That makes poor economic sense.

So in short, Rimu, you are wrong, you may think that in theory membership can become voluntary but this realistically will not happen in the current environment.

What harm can possibly come from making membership voluntary by law? Surely, students deserve the choice.

Nice argument Gazza, now

Nice argument Gazza, now just extrapolate it from the student union to the country's government and you will see how pointless it is to try to achieve more freedom through politics.

Additionally, I don't see how this bill increases freedom, if you don't want to join the student union, don't enroll to the university, duh? Freedom is not when the government forces people into or out of things, that is in fact quiet the opposite. Freedom is when the government gets out of the way, this bill is definitely not getting the government out of the way, it is government meddling in the affairs of students.

The Government is in the way

The Government is in the way now! It says it is forced, unless.....

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