Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 5. 1965.
Nordy's Support Worthless
Nordy's Support Worthless
Sirs,—Let fellow students not be deceived by the assurances of Mr. Nordmeyer, when, in political tones, he insisted that we should obtain action as a result of our protest march.
Of course he congratulated us on our orderly behaviour. Not even the opposition would like to be embarrassed by a bunch of irresponsible students. Standing at the foot of the steps. I felt like a distraught child being pacified by fatherly tones and head patting. I wonder how many of my Kindergarten colleagues were convinced?
But let us consider this rationally. One thousand five hundred students marched slowly and in orderly procession, four abreast, some carrying banners, to the beat of a drum. Their earnestness was impressive in itself. Well organised and controlled, they gathered at the steps of Parliament building, placards in front. A deputation was sent to find the Prime Minister, but who should they escort out—not the Prime Minister. Mr. Holyoake, and not the Minister of Education, Mr. Kinsella, but the leader of the Opposition, Mr. Nordmeyer, who had been Asked by Mr. Holyoake to receive the petition.
As was expected, Labour Party support was offered (for all it is worth at present), a few subtle remarks about the absence of Mr. Holyoake and Mr. Kinsella were made, the petition presented, and the students dispersed in an orderly fashion, as asked by Exec. Of course, it was in the interests of the Opposition to offer support. They are not running the country.
Surely if the Honourable Mr. Holyoake had considered our peaceful demonstration an important enough political issue, he would have come himself, or at least sent a representative of his own party. He must have realised that Labour Party support would have been promised. But the National Party Cabinet was engaged in a caucus meeting, and a caucus meeting is a round-table discussion to decide future policy, and future policy includes investigation and action about student grievances. Caucus was far too important for any member, let alone the Prime Minister, to be absent from for half an hour. Supposing that the meeting was too important to interrupt, they must have had a lunch hour, or a break which would have coincided with the arrival of the students' deputation!
No, I am afraid that I am not convinced that any action will be taken, and certainly not immediate action. If we want to achieve our aims, which Mr. Nordmeyer assures us are worthy, more action on the part of students, and probably more spectacular action will have to be taken very soon.—