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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. [Volume 39, Number 19, 1976.]

Tenants' Union

Tenants' Union

In keeping with Tenant's Union policy of political action as a follow up to cases wherever possible, a picket was arranged on Tuesday outside Sutton and Stevens Land Agents.

The advance party of 3 complete with placards, the Tenant's Union flag and leaflets struggled to Sutton and Stevens Farish St office. By a most cunning reactionary manoevre this outfit had shifted new premises in the World Trade Centre in Sturdee St so we had to re-direct our march (a lesson to all revolutionaries here!)

Once established outside the offices we set up placards and started leafletting. The gist of Tenant's Union stand is that Sutton and Steven's as agents were helping an annonymous new landlord to get rid of his tenants at 44 Queen St Mt Victoria.

There were five flats in this property, the worst case being an elderly couple who have occupied their house for over 12 years. They are well known and respected in their community and don't want to leave and have nowhere else to live. It is time that people like this were supported and Tenant's Union is doing its best, often against overwhelming odds.

At the World Trade Centre, a focus of capitalist yearnings and hopes, the land of T.U. workers happily dispersed their leaflets, to a sympathetic public. It was amazing to watch the comings and goings of suited types busy serving Mammon; although many were interested in our issue and quite approachable.

However this was too good to last and an unpleasant lacky-cum-janitor and dyspeptic R.S.A. type indicated in his very limited fashion (with a kick) that cardboard placards were not to touch the sacred walls of the W.T. Centre and the police (plural) were going to come and sort us out.

Ten minutes later the lackey's boss arrived. He was the Representative of the Board of Management, and having taken 1 × 10mg tablet of 'legal advice' told us to move, since we were on his private parts. After a minor alteration it was agreed that he was an autocrat and he decided that we must be - wait for it commies!

Meanwhile no member of the public was offended, two representatives of the media turned up and all the cars in the area were leafletted. The puffed up autocratic self-confessed landlord started to show displacement behaviour and was obviously in a state of tension (which lasted for half an hour until a noncholant solitary plod turned up).


He was quite friendly and explained how the W.T. Centre management had the discretion to open their doors to all those spenders but, since T.U. was not there to shop, the W.T. Centre could define their temporary yet final 'public property' privately.

By now we had nearly run out of leaflets so it was off to the Cuba Mall to finish the job! In fact overall it was an excellent exercise in public relations and dissemination of information and we can only hope that this and further demonstrations coupled with T.U.'s footslogging casework can help give tenants the necessary energy and enthusiasm to act against the present unjust Tenancy Laws.

This was exemplified when one gentleman insisted that there must be two points of view to the situation and it's time that the tenants voices were heard loud and determined for we all know the cash-register sound of most landlords 'point of view'.