Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 29, No. 4. 1966.
Mountain elected president — Taylor out say NZUSA
Mountain elected president
Taylor out say NZUSA
Intent on administrative house-cleaning, the constituent delegates to NZUSA's 36th annual Easter Council threw out Victoria's Alister Taylor as president and elected in his place Ross Mountain of Auckland.
Mountain, 22, who will serve as NZUSA's first full-time president, was able to recruit only one other resident executive during the council session. She is Carol Bohmer, of Victoria, who will assume the position of Travel vice-president.
In an election surrounded by strong emotions. Miss Bohmer was the only member of former president Taylor's staff willing to serve with Mountain. Before adjourning on Easter Monday, the council moved that Mountain should himself find the remainder of his executive, subject to constituent ratification.
From its start, the four-day council took on an air of investigation, and the delegates left no doubt who was on trial—Alister Taylor. If a battery of constituent protests and votes of censure can be the judge, it was in reaction to Taylor's exercise of executive initiative that the constituent bodies brought about his downfall.
The breakdown of votes for the two presidential candidates was unavailable, since the balloting was secret. The only assured support came from Victoria, which had a mandate from its own executive to cast for Taylor.
While Mountain sat quietly in the background, the delegates fired question after quest ion at Mr. Taylor about many of his activities as president—particularly his proposed plans for an insurance scheme, the recently-issued Student News, and the administration of the Student Travel Bureau.
The delegates in general did not question the substance of Taylor's activities. It was, instead, the method in which the colourful former president pursued them which caught the delegates' attention.
The delegates were ardent in examining two other areas of Taylor's record: constituent relations and finance. The Easter Council was not 10 minutes old before the delegates passed a formal vote of censure against the resident executive for failing to circulate vital reports in time for consideration by the representatives to Council. The next day, in a Finance Commission, the executive was censured again—this time for financial mismanagement.
On the matter of insurance, the delegates charged that Taylor had not kept them informed of the developments. When during the council proceedings Taylor released information on the insurance scheme to the press without consulting the constituents. Auckland responded by recording in the final plenary session "a strong protest against this totally unsatisfactory conduct."
In a policy speech before his election. Mountain cited what he termed Taylor's "numerous fails accomplis" and claimed that these actions had resulted in a "crisis in confidence." He said that he favoured a "decentralisation" of the executive and a "consolidation" of executive and constituent bodies.
Mountain's election marks the first time in recent memory that the president has not come from Victoria As a full-time officer, Mountain will receive a salary of £900 and an expense account of £150.
Despite the current of outspoken criticism of Taylor which ran through the entire conference, at the time of election on the final day the outcome was generally considered to be highly uncertain.
The defeat of Taylor showed, however, that after a year of significant outward expansion of NZUSA, it was a strict internal reform which mattered most to the delegates.