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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 10. 1965.

…and elections

…and elections

Sirs,—As a sitting Councillor, a past student, and as the Wellington City Council appointee on the University Council, I feel disposed to offer some comment on the suggestions in Salient that some students should stand for the City Council.

I do not take seriously the idea that 100 students might stand. I think that the task will be to find one or two. There is a deposit of £3 which is forfeited by any candidate who does not poll 10 per cent of the votes cast for the successful candidate with the lowest number. Any funds available should therefore be concentrated in support of one or two candidates.

The next thing is to get elected. None of those who stood as independents were elected in 1962 and the chances are improved by being on a ticket. It seems that the Labour ticket is full now, but there are still vacancies on the Citizens ticket.

Supposing we get our student elected, what particular contribution can he make just because he is a student? The ramifications of the City Council business are such that a councillor's first year or two, or indeed his first term of three years, tend to be something of an apprenticeship, and he makes a more effective contribution in a second term. It is one thing to make provocative statements at a Council meeting and make the headlines, but quite another to exert full influence in committee where most of the real job is done. Still, do not let me discourage you. William Pitt was Prime Minister of England at the age of 24.

What I must point out is that the chairman of an important committee will spend at least ½ working days per week on council affairs, plus many calls on his spare time and weekends. This is a heavy commitment. I am all in favour of young people taking an active part in public affairs, but they must realise what they are taking on. Perhaps you will find the right man.

W. G. Morrison.