Press Release – NZ Union of Students’ Associations
Student leaders today note the irony in National’s support for automatic enrolment of workers into Kiwisaver with an easy opt out mechanism. Kiwisaver-style easy opt-out scheme a good model for students too
Student leaders today note the irony in National’s support for automatic enrolment of workers into Kiwisaver with an easy opt out mechanism.
“The concept of auto-enrolment with easy opt-out aligns with the fair alternative to ACT’s extreme VSM Bill presented to and discussed by National MPs as far back as last year,” says NZUSA co-President David Do.
The essential features were: • Students will automatically become members of their students’ association when they enrol at a tertiary institution. • Students may opt-out of their association at any time and for any (or no) reason. • If students opt-out within the first four weeks of term, they would receive a full refund of any association fees. • “By voting for ACT’s bill, National chose to reject this fair and reasonable solution in favour of Act’s extreme ideology. The current law already allows opt out by conscientious objection and financial hardship, and our proposals would have simplified this process further,” says Do.
“Amazingly though, they’ve accepted the opt-out system as ideal for other policy areas. It was only a simple step to apply this idea to the sector where it will have clear benefit – the tertiary sector.”
“In the meantime, we are now seeing the consequences of the VSM Bill starting to roll out. Students are increasingly worried about these changes in the run up to next year and the election. Student services are being put at risk, institutions’ fees are going up, and associations are being forced to consider major cuts to how they serve students. This concerning picture will develop further as next year approaches,” says Do.
NZUSA invites National to join the cross-party pledge signed by at Parliament on September 28, to repeal and replace ACT’s legislation with reasonable enduring laws for students’ associations, much along the lines of what National has proposed for Kiwisaver.
NZUSA is the national representative body for tertiary students and has been advocating on student issues since 1929.