On the campaign trail in Dunedin North with Victor Billot

Alliance Party blog

Let Victor Speak . . . at the education debate

with one comment

Update 2: I have been invited to join the panel!

Update: I have a campaign group for this issue on Facebook

The OUSA and OPSA, the two Dunedin student associations, are hosting a student debate. Victor Billot will not be allowed to speak in favour of free education – at this stage. Let’s change the mind of the people who run these things! I want to speak and I want a place on the platform.

Here’s the background from OUSA President Simon Wilson in the latest Critic:

“This Friday 3 October, starting at 3pm, OUSA, OPSA (the Otago Polytechnic Students Association) and NZUSA (the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations) will be hosting a Tertiary Education Debate in the Teachers College Auditorium. So far Pete Hodgson (Labour,) Meteria Turei (Greens)
and Hilary Calvert (Act) have confirmed their attendance. We will have a representative from the National Party and there should be someone there from the three other parties with MPs in parliament as well. The MPs will be debating the future of tertiary education in New Zealand. They will be given a short time to speak and then you will have a chance to ask your questions.
I look forward to seeing you there.”

Gee – my invitation seems to have got lost in the mail.

There’s going to be representatives from Labour – who introduced user pays education in the 1980s – and National – who hiked fees in the 1990s – and did I mention Labour, under whose rule student loans have crashed through the $10.3 billion barrier.

In fact, it seems all the parties who support user pays education in one form or another have got an invite.

But that leaves out one party. The Alliance. Who support free education.

We pay for this through progressive taxation. It means people like John Key and Helen Clark will have to pay a bit more tax . . . like well off people used to . . . which is why we used to have free education.

On their website, the national students association NZUSA say they are “fighting for a universal, free, publicly funded and high quality tertiary education system at every level. We believe that public tertiary education is a fundamental right and must be fully funded by the government through taxation revenue to ensure it is barrier free and that there is equal access to as many people as possible.
User-pays public education, and the notion that the student is a consumer and education a product, fails to acknowledge and recognise the social, cultural and economic advantages that a society gains when a large majority of its citizens have open and free access to public tertiary education.”

I agree entirely. Unlike every other party at the student debate this Friday, the Alliance support the NZUSA policy 100%.

The Alliance was in Government with Labour from 1999-2002. We made a big difference. We can again – if people start standing up for what they believe in, and stop trying to cut deals with people who DON’T CARE.

I look forward to seeing you there too. Register your support, join the Facebook group, stir the joint up, and if you’re a student email your local or national student association.

Stay posted on this one.

Written by Victor

September 29, 2008 at 4:02 am

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One Response

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  1. Yeah the Greens need more support in their mission to bring back a free education!!!!


    September 30, 2008 at 2:43 am

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