Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 37, No 21. August 28, 1974
Student Heavies Gather
Student Heavies Gather
Each year the New Zealand University Students' Association holds two Councils to formulate policy, debate action and call its bureaucrats back into line. In three action packed 16-hour days at Lincoln College August 21-23 delegates wheeled, dealed, argued and compromised A full report, with the major items discussed and the new NZUSA policy, will hopefully be ready for the next issue of Salient. This note will outline some of the major areas covered and some of the consequent issues for this campus.
Victoria had ten delegates at the council: Gyles Beckford and David Cunningham — chief delegates; Dianne Hooper and Lisa Sacksen — national commission; Don Carson and Vivienne Zethoven — international; Mike Dew — education; Peter Aagaard — welfare; Barbara Leishman — cultural affairs and Anthony Ward — accommodation. Most of the policy will be coming up at SRC for VUWSA ratification, but if you're particularly concerned over some issue, sec us right away.
The Council opened on Wednesday with the consideration of constituents' and officers' reports, followed by an important and wide-ranging discussion on the present state and future prospects of NZUSA. It was generally agreed that NZUSA tends to become isolated from students, and various means of overcoming this were suggested. No total answer emerged from the discussion, but at least all delegates were made aware of the problem and of possible solutions.
The meeting then moved to the election of officers. The present International Vice President, Alick Shaw, was elected President ahead of this and last years' Presidents of Canterbury, Jim Benefield and Robin Duff. For International Vice President there were two candidates, Don Carson and Ken Howell but after four ballots there was no clear majority for either (to be elected a candidate needs 22 constituent votes out of a total of 42, spread among the campuses roughly according to student roll sizes) and the positions will be readvertised. There were no applications for the post of Education Vice President, which will also now be reopened. John Blincoe was, re-elected General Vice President with 42 votes out of 42, a strong vote of confidence in his work so far this year, including his submissions on the drug bill.
The various commissions then started their own sessions, the entire group coming together again for the priorities plenary on Thursday night (taking from 8pm to 2.30am) and the final plenary on Friday night (considerably shorter as most delegates were by now very tired and eager to get away.) The major debate of the Council centred on the proposed post of Welfare Vice President. Welfare/Accommodation commission, aware of the many policies unactioned since their introduction made a strong case for the need for such a post. This was accepted by the plenary, discussion centering mainly on the financing of such a post with minor diversions for various political points. The main one of these concerned the absence of the Auckland delegate from welfare commission. (In the plenary he argued that he felt international commission looked more interesting.) After two hours of debate on the Welfare Vice President in that commission an Auckland rep turned up to vote against the proposal, giving as one reason the line that there had been insufficient argument. The next day, after the public rap over the knuckles in plenary, three. Auckland 'heavies' turned up — as did Mike Treen the rep — in his case for only a few minutes.
Such diversions aside, the debate moved uncertainly through various ways of financing the post, many delegates seemingly reluctant to admit the necessity of increasing the levy to cover the expenditure. At one stage Victoria proposed, seconded by Otago, that a Welfare Officer be appointed from the beginning of 1975. Several hours later this proposal, which had been narrowly passed, was recommitted and narrowly defeated. The situation now is that the post is open to discussion on each campus — a compromise leaving the establishment of the post until all students have had a chance to consider whether a Welfare Vice President is worth an increased levy of 20 cents per student to $1.30. At Victoria it is proposed to hold discussions, through SRC and/or an SGM and Salient.
Two other matters of considerable importance were resolved, with a reaffirmation of support for Carl Gordon in his tussle with the Waikato University Council, and an effective tabling of NUS proposals until these too have been fully discussed at constituent level. Proposals that the decision to join be unanimous and that as many students as possible be consulted were both passed, though these are not in any strict sense binding on constituents — it is up to students on each campus to ensure their rights of discussion are not compromised.
Another Council gone by — and undoubtedly many students will be wondering whether NZUSA as a whole is really of value. A consideration of John Blincoe's drug bill submissions, contained elsewhere in this issue, and of the general body of policy and action which will be summarised next week can make such debate more informed, and debate there certainly should be. NZUSA exists, as VUWSA exists, to serve members needs and if either of these are not fulfilling their members requests, or are incapable of such action, it is up to the members to criticise and point out the problems. Only through such criticism can students associations really be effective in their professed intentions.
—Anthony WardNZUSA Liaison Officer
The Wellington Hospital Mobile Blood Transfusion Unit will be making its second visit to the Union for 1974 on Tuesday, Sept 24, Monday, Sept 30 and Tuesday, Oct 1 from 9am — 12pm in the Memorial Theatre Foyer. Please donate your blood to help another.