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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 13. 1967.

Vacation prospects: Students require assistance

Vacation prospects: Students require assistance

Although there may be up to 3000 full-time students unemployed and earnings will be less this vacation, no general increase in bursaries is likely.

A University Grants Committee spokesman told Salient they were not considering recommending a general increase in bursaries to the Government. "We believe the bursary is a supplement to a student's income and do not accept it should be tied to the cost of living," he said.

Apart from the new supplementary bursaries which cost $600,000 bursaries have not been increased since 1965 when there was considerable student agitation.

The Minister of Social Security. Mr. McKay, told the House (8/9/67) that "the question of paying unemployment benefits to students was under review. The results would be available in about two weeks." he said.

The Social Security Act can be interpreted at least two ways on this question. Section 58 says: the unemployment commission must be satisfied that: "(a) Is unemployed and (b) is willing to undertake suitable work: and (c) has taken reasonable steps to obtain suitable work; and (d) has resided continuously in New Zealand for not less than 12 months."

Salient's legal adviser said students could satisfy all the conditions except the first which depended on the definition of the word unemployed. If unemployed means an individual who is out of work and wants a full-time job then students would not qualify. However, it was possible to include students within the meaning of the word he said.

Students could commit fraud by saying they had left university and wanted full-time work. If they were discovered they would be liable on summary conviction under the Act for a fine not exceeding $200 and a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months.

Mr. Shand further confused the issue when he told Parliament (8.9.67) a student "would be given work if he wanted it; but so long as he is a bursar—and most of the students in New Zealand are bursars—he cannot apply for a social security benefit on the ground that he is unemployed."

It could be inferred from Mr. Shand's comments that a student who did not have a bursary could qualify for the benefit.

In any case, students can register as unemployed with the Labour department which will endeavour to find work for them. It is likely an announcement on the question of the benefit for students will be made early next" week following the Monday Cabinet meeting.

Mr. Shand told Parliament (8.9.67) that provisional figures from the Department of Labour suggested up to 2900 full-time students might be unable to find jobs in the coming vacation (9.9.67 NZPA).

The Department of Labour is considering various alternatives to meet the problem. "We are conducting a survey of employers and should know the results by the end of the month." the Secretary of Labour, Mr. N. Woods, told Salient. "Relief work was one of the things we are turning over," he said.

"The Students Association is to arrange a questionnaire on vacation employment," President Douglas White told Salient. "Its aim is to discover how many students must earn money during the vacation to enable them to attend University the following year." It will be run in conjunction with the coming elections.

The Appointments Board Chairman is writing to over 2000 firms in Wellington province notifying them of the projected shortage of vacation work for students.

It has not yet been proved in New Zealand that a reduced income for students is a cause of examination failure. However, the National Union of Australian Students conducted a survey of first year students at the University of Melbourne in 1961.

They concluded that: "It seems the following groups may have a relatively poor chance of performing well in first year—(1) Students who do not hold Commonwealth Scholarships, and especially those who hold no award; (2) Students who take employment during the academic year; and probably (3) Students who feel that their costs place themselves and/or others under considerable strain.

Mr. D. J. Riddiford, Government member for Wellington Central at last Sunday's Teach-in on unemployment. Mr. Riddiford presented the Government view.

Mr. D. J. Riddiford, Government member for Wellington Central at last Sunday's Teach-in on unemployment. Mr. Riddiford presented the Government view.