Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31 Number 16 July 16, 1968
S.G.M. Condemns The Government
S.G.M. Condemns The Government
The Students' Association decision to march to Parliament was taken at a Special General Meeting the night before.
Attended by perhaps 170 students — about 3 per cent, of the total— the meeting overwhelmingly condemned government for its attitudes to the universities, its handling of the economy and its endangering of New Zealand security, specifically on the question of the proposed Omega radio station in the Southern Alps.
During the meeting an issue of "Suliet" (an irregular and clandestine newssheet) was distributed, and this later led to an exchange of accusations involving the editor of Salient, Bill Logan, and former student leader Alister Taylor, who had been granted speaking rights by the meeting.
Moving the first motion on the agenda, condemning government on university affairs and economy Owen Gager said students must identify with the FOL.
Spelling out student grievances, Owen referred to statements of the Minister of Finance: "If Mr Muldoon's views triumph in cabinet, we will shortly have one of the worst universities in the world."
He also condemned the miserlieness of government's spending on university buildings.
Owen said if students marched with the FOL there was a definite possibility of union support, at least for higher university staff salaries.
Seconding the motion, Barrie Saunders said the country's economic difficulties were self-evident and government could have avoided them by different policies when overseas earnings had been buoyant.
On bursaries he said working class families were now having difficulty in supporting their children at university.
Student politicians hadn't done their job; government hadn't even been asked for bursary increases.
John Hales said he opposed support for the wealthy unionists who were those demonstrating.
The Omega radio station was much worthier of student attention.
NZUSA vice-president David Shand said the condemnation of government's economic policies should remain because it was "central to what we are protesting about'' and because it showed solidarity with workers.
Alister Taylor said he had information which indicated a firm commitment by government to the US over the Omega station.
The original motion was passed overwhelmingly, with the addition of references to security and Omega.
The second motion on the agenda of the SGM was for Students' Association backing for the march to Parliament already planned by activist groups.
Tony Jaques said such a march would be playing into the hands of those who wanted to involve students with the trade unions.
It would also result in a loss of public sympathy for the universities at a time when this was needed to counter implied threats by government to their status.
Again the motion was carried overwhelmingly.
But an attempt to direct all members of Executive to take part in the march failed.
"This motion is not needed: if members of Exec don't march, students will be able to take appropriate action," Alister Taylor said.
Editor Bill Logan then drew attention to the 'Salient' which had been circulated to the meeting. Challenged on the point, Mr Taylor admitted that he was "one of many students involved''
Owen Gager moved that Alister's speaking rights be withdrawn.
With the carrying of this motion the meeting ended.
This article is published late because the copy was lost—ed.