Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient. Victoria University Students Newspaper. Volume 38, No 1. March 4, 1975


page break


NZUSA has a habit of holding national executive meetings, comprising the presidents of each of the constituent campuses and the elected officers about once a month. Since the beginning of 1975 two such meetings have been held the first on 10 January, which delayed the eagerness of the national officers (so early!) and the lethargy of local presidents, many of whom were on holiday and therefore replaced by stand ins (so early?) The second was held in conjunction with the mini-council held over the weekend of February 14-16.

Both were graced with full and informative reports from the national office. The meeting in January considered the projects outlined by the national officers - the bursaries issue in Education, Malaysia and South Africa in international, an outline of work in progress in parliamentary submissions in national and accommodation welfare. The proposed orientation activities of Students Arts Council were also discussed - a rock tour in the first week at Vic and two political films - Millhouse and Attica - in the second.

The next of the NZUSA navel gazing committees presented its recommendations on salaries in the organisation. Twenty three motions reorganising salaries were considered, some passed over till the next national exec, and most carried. A further navel-gazing ended with the report on the Limited Liability Company proposal for Student Travel Bureau. The idea of this is to stop NZUSA holding the financial responsibility it STB flops in a screaming heap as its French counterpart has just done. Planning also went forward on the February workshops for various workshops for various subjects. Orientation, jaunts around the world and May council were discussed as well.

One month later the rumours started that once again Wellington was to be invaded by a curious assortment of student heavies, and this time even more than before! It was planned to have a National Exec Friday and the workshops/ mini-council sessions on the next two days. As it turned out, a long and boring Exec meeting went on late on Friday and then occupied a lot more time on Sunday afternoon. The workshops seemed to have exhausted their participants by then, so things worked out rather well. The National Exec started early on Friday, and broke halfway thru the afternoon to troop off to meet Mr Amos. The usual impression of that meeting (in its more printable form) is given by Lisa Sacksen in her comments on the Tertiary Bursary article. In a suitable state of annoyance the politicos returned to the conference room in Easter-field after tea and wrangled on into the night. At 10 pm they broke at item 5 on the 10 point plus agenda. Debate had centred basically on a renewed consideration of the salaries question and discussions over Union membership. It took three quarters-of-an-hour to elect a representative to a travel committee of STB, then unelect him, and then disagree over the method of reelection to the extent of deferring the issue till Sunday, when eventually both Dave Jenkins from Waikato and Michael Walker from Auckland were elected. What a pity my mind doesn't boggle.

The workshops over the next day and a half covered the fields of welfare, education, international and financial - the spheres debated at normal council meetings in May and August. The idea behind these workshops was to acquaint personnel in each field from the various campuses with what was going on. In this they were reasonably successful, but many local officers were either
(a)old hands not carrying on hence little interested or
(b)new people who were keen but knew little of their campus's affairs.

Between these two groups the national officers tended to take a large control over things, which cast something of a pall over happenings. Little concrete came out of the meetings, but the contacts gained may well be very useful for local officers, and some strange seeds may already be germinating. Who knows?

On rereading, this note seems rather unfair - NZUSA is doing a lot of good in representing students and their interests - on bursaries, on accommodation and in actioning policy which students have considered important. The national executive meetings and the workshops were attempts - and however much they have flopped one should give credit for this - to involve the campuses more in what the national office is doing. Even the balls-up over the election of the travel rep was due to attempts to make the election as democratic as possible. It is possible to overdo attempts to involve people - for example, if normal work is made impossible, but it is a healthy sign that NZUSA is erring on this rather than the authoritarian side. And while much of the meetings was boring, restructuring the central office took a lot of the time and that is something that should be of great concern to constituents. There is need for reform, especially streamlining, of some of NZUSA's methods, but with this commitment to democratic and open operation there can be little doubt it is really trying to serve students needs and wishes. It is up to students to ensure that these ideas get through to their national officers.