Press Release – NZUSA
Tertiary students nationwide are showing their support for MMP as public debate on the upcoming referendum heats up. Many local associations already support MMP, and there are ‘Campaign for MMP’ groups at Auckland, Victoria, Massey, Waikato, Canterbury, …NZUSA supports MMP
Tertiary students nationwide are showing their support for MMP as public debate on the upcoming referendum heats up. Many local associations already support MMP, and there are ‘Campaign for MMP’ groups at Auckland, Victoria, Massey, Waikato, Canterbury, and Otago universities.
“The national students’ association supports MMP because it’s the fairest and most representative voting system available. MMP gives students more choice, ensures a proportional and more representative Parliament, and has tended to help deliver better policy outcomes for students. We encourage students and young voters to vote to keep MMP in this referendum,” says NZUSA Co-President David Do .
“Students, along with other democratic organisations, community groups, and fair-minded people played an important role during the last referendum on MMP in 1993. We echo this support today and recent polls also show the strongest support for MMP is coming from younger people,” says Do.
“Students today want choice in the values they express when voting and they tend to look for parties with a closer fit to their values. Students increasingly expect to be able to vote for political parties that more closely fit their views, rather than having to choose between one of only two viable choices of political party on their ballot paper,” says NZUSA Co-President Max Hardy.
“MMP has helped create a more diverse and representative Parliament that looks more like New Zealand society. Under MMP, political representation has in creased for Maori and Pasifika people, ethnic minorities, women and young people. MMP also provides for more policy consultation, meaning students and students’ associations have more of a say on the issues affecting them,” says Hardy.
NZUSA believes that MMP has delivered some better policy outcomes for students. Under MMP, smaller parties have tended to be in arrangements with larger parties in government. This is a significant move away from the former days of just one governing party, and has positively influenced tertiary policy as smaller parties have tended to have more pro-student tertiary policies than either of the two larger parties.
· The lowering of the age of parental in come means-testing from 25 to 24 years was partly due to pressure from United Future in a Labour-led government
· The lifting of parental income thresholds for student allowances was partly due to pressure from the Greens in a Labour-led government
· The Bill that created the students’ association membership legislation in place from the late 1990s until this year was the result of pressure from New Zealand First in a National-led government
“When students vote they need to know their vote is worth the same as everyone else’s. That’s just fair,” concludes Do.
NZUSA is the national representative body for tertiary students and has been advocating on student issues since 1929.