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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. [Volume 39, Issue 8. April 1976]

The Debate

The Debate

On the return of Ross Tanner (member of the NYC executive) from working for several months for the WAY secretariat in Brussels, a sub-committee of the National Youth Council was formed to prepare a report on our relationship with WAY and what our future with WAY should be.

This committee prepared an outline paper which recommended that New Zealand continue its membership of WAY, that it send a delegation to the 1976 WAY assembly, and that we reassess our position within WAY on its return. This report was to be discussed at the Council's AGM in November 1975.

In the interim period between the preparation of the report and the date of the AGM I visited Melbourne and talked about WAY with members of the National Youth Council of Australia (NYCA).

NYCA had recently withdrawn from WAY and as a result of these discussions I realised that there were many areas of contention which the sub-committee report had not covered. So on my return to New Zealand I prepared a further report for the AGM outlining some of these areas.

By this stage there were moves, particularly from NZUSA and STANZ to withdraw from WAY immediately. Some of the reasons behind these moves were:
  • WAY was formerly funded by the CIA. Up until 1975 its main source of money was from the US AID agency, for family planning activities and its current financial position is doubtful.
  • Cost of WAY membership ($360 - fees and $ 1500 fund to send delegates to Assemblies per year) in relation to little perceived benefit to New Zealand Youth.
  • Unrepresentative membership of WAY - it has very few European and Asian members and a number of countries are represented by a WAY committee rather than their National Youth Council.
  • Political opposition to some of WAY's activities - concentration on family planning activities.
  • Lack of democracy within WAY and the concentration of power within the hands of the Secretary General.
  • Lack of information provided by WAY to New Zealand, concerning its activities and finances.

At the AGM a motion to withdraw from WAY was defeated, but it was clear that the sub-committee's report was not considered sufficiently detailed and the executive was instructed to prepare another report.

This was done and a General Meeting was held in January to discuss the report and decide whether we would send a delegation to the Assembly.

After a heated discussion it was decided to send a delegation of three people who would be pressing to right some of our criticisms of WAY. They would also be acting in an investigatory capacity and our position within WAY would be reassessed on their return. NZUSA has given notice that it again intends to move for our withdrawl from WAY.

The delegation was elected from nominations received from the Council. Those chosen were Errol Millar (NYC President), Geoff Woolford (NYC executive officer) and myself (NYC executive member and one of the most vocal critics of WAY).