OUSA joins call to rally

Francisco Hernandez
Francisco Hernandez
The Otago University Students' Association has joined the other ''big three'' students' associations in calling for reforms to the national association.

The call, from the presidents of the OUSA and the Auckland and Victoria University Students' Associations comes after the Waikato Students' Union withdrew from the New Zealand Union of Students' Associations (NZUSA).

OUSA president Francisco Hernandez said the future of the NZUSA would be under ''threat'' if it did not change.

One of the criticisms of the NZUSA was that it had been ''quite quiet'' in the face of the Government changes to student allowances and had failed to organised a ''co-ordinated'' campaign against the changes, he said.

The reforms the ''big three'' associations would push for at the NZUSA Congress in November included having an increased focus on the ''core business'' of fighting against changes to loans and allowances and having a more inclusive governance structure.

Mr Hernandez said the NZUSA still had an important role to play.

''Now is not the time to abandon our national student voice, especially when many students are hurting due to Government cuts in student support, increases in the cost of living and suffering in cold, damp flats,'' he said.

The NZUSA had faced challenges since the passing of the Voluntary Student Membership Bill in 2011, which resulted in it receiving smaller levies from feeder associations.

NZUSA president Pete Hodkinson was open to making changes.

''At the end of the day, it's about what's best for everyone,'' Mr Hodkinson said.

-vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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