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Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 12, No. 3, April 6th, 1949.

Wellington Youth Confer

Wellington Youth Confer

On Friday, 26th March, a group of sixty to seventy young people met to celebrate World Youth Week. The walls of the Blue Triangle Hall carried the challenge, "Be a Peacemonger" and "Youth, Unite for Better Conditions," and Apprentice Commissioner McQueen came along to hear the voice of Youth.

The chairman. Mr. Ron Smith, welcomed those present and mentioned that at the meeting VUCSA the Student Labour Federation, the Woburn Apprentices' Club, the Young Peoples' Club, and the Eureka Youth League were represented. He then read greetings and good wishes from a number of supporters, including Mr. F. L. Combs. Mr. J. Bertram, the Auckland Labour Club, the Eureka Youth League and several trade unions.


Mr. Harry Evison, the secretary of the Students' Association, spoke of the need for bigger and better bursaries. He outlined the cost of an Arts or Science degree and showed that only those with some private means could carry out the course in a satisfactory manner. He stressed that fees should be abolished and that adequate financial assistance must be available to all those intellectually able to profit from a Varsity education. The students, in pressing for these immediate aims, said Mr. Evison, realised that their struggle was only a part of the struggle of all young people for better conditions.


The Woburn Apprentices then put on a short sketch showing in a clear, humorous manner the need for daylight training for apprentices. This was followed by Mr. Bob Fink, of the Apprentices' Club, who outlined the demands of the apprentices for daylight training. He quoted Mr, Ridling, the Director of the Wellington Technical College, as saying that the night technical classes could not adequately train apprentices. The present system of night classes for the apprentices' theoretical training was producing tradesmen under-exposed, under-developed and with training insufficiently fixed.

And Peace

Best wishes for the meeting were expressed by Mr. Mitchell, of the Waterside Workers' Union, who reminded us that though our efforts to improve the working conditions of students and young workers were worthwhile, they would be negated by another war. Our efforts must therefore be linked with a drive towards a lasting peace.

Mr. Jim Milburn, of VUCSA. emphasised the above points in his remarks on conscription. He told us that the drive for peace-time conscription, led by the action committee of the RSA. was based on the false premise that if you wanted peace you prepared for war—if you want lilies you plant pansy seeds.

Miss Betty Arya then said a few-words on the World Federation of Democratic Youth, under whose auspices this meeting, in conjunction with hundreds of other meetings throughout the world, was being held. Youth must get together and press for a new deal, and WFDY does just this.

The meeting then discussed and passed the following resolution:—

Manifesto of Youth

Youth has the right to a decent life, culture, education and peace. We therefore demand:

1. Adequate Government bursaries with living allowances to enable all higher education to be completed without economic hardship.

2. Daylight technical training with full facilities for apprentices.

3. For women and young workers equal pay for equal work produced.

In fighting for these "demands we recognise that they can only be fulfilled through a period of lasting peace. We therefore call upon you to unite against conscription and fight for such a peace.