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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 7. 1967.

Accomodation difficulties to increase

Accomodation difficulties to increase


The proportion of university students living away from home could increase from the present 28.4% to 50% within the next five years, the Minister of Education, Mr. A. E. Kinsella, told the New Zealand University Students' Association accommodation seminar.

The student accommodation seminar was held in Christchurch over the May vacation. Mr. Kinsella said that by 1972 there would be 5492 places in halls of residence for students living away from home. Otago would have 1514, Massey 978, Auckland 951, Canterbury 893, Victoria 390, Lincoln 424 and Waikato 342.

There were also other proposals before the University Grants Committee but none of these were likely to be completed before 1972.

Building these halls of residence would require public funds of £4 million over the next five years. Of this, £260,000 had been spent on halls already completed, £1.2 million would be required for projects already under way, and projects already being planned would take another £2.5 million.

However, even with this increase in the number of places in residential halls, the number of students seeking accommodation elsewhere would be the same as it was today, Mr. Kinsella said.

Some adjustment would also have to be made in the number of places planned at Auckland and Canterbury. At Auckland 200 places would be lost when the school of engineering transferred to the Auckland town site from Ard-more and at Canterbury many of the existing places were connected with the town site of the university and would be of no further use when the move to the Ilam site was completed.

The trend towards students living away from home was probably due to increased opportunities for pupils from rural areas and semi-rural areas for sixth form study.

Mr. Kinsella said that although ideally internal students should spend part of their undergraduate years in a hall of residence, the pressing need was to provide accommodation for those full-time students who were living away from home.

Another speaker who looked at the present accommodation situation was Professor N. C. Phillips, Vice-Chancellor of Canterbury University.

He said that more than 30 per cent of New Zealand university students were at present unable to get accommodation in halls of residence, university flats or church-organised houses.

In general the universities had not done a great deal to care for students who came from other towns and were the "denizens of private flats, shared houses and lodgers at private homes."

Some effort had to be made to find suitable homes for students and to get students to meet desirable standards of conduct.

At least one university (Otago) had gone as far as prohibiting students from living in flats and houses which inspection had shown to be unacceptable, Professor Phillips said.

For as long as he could see, 75 per cent of students would be living privately in homes or flats or lodgings.

"It seems to me," he said, "that a great deal more talk and a great deal more money have been spent on the minority. All that has been done for the majority is to build student unions."

In its final session the seminar urged the appointment of fulltime accommodation officers in all university centres. This would alleviate the serious problem met by students in finding suitable private accommodation, the conference was told.

While halls of residence should receive the main emphasis, development of flats for students on, or near the university campus, was also advocated by the conference.

It was felt that these should be provided by the university or any other body in cooperation with it. Active cooperation should be given by the universities to anyone prepared to make such flats available.

The conference also recommended an annual review of the present maximum Government subsidy of £1800 a bed for hostels in the light of the current building costs.

Donations towards the cost of building student accommodation should also be made tax deductable up to £50, the conference said.

The conference was attended by university administration officers and students from all over New Zealand.