OUSA release policy wishlist for ORC, DCC elections

OUSA represents more than 17,000 students attending the University of Otago. Photo: ODT files
OUSA represents more than 17,000 students attending the University of Otago. Photo: ODT files
A wishlist of policies from the Otago University Students' Association to candidates for local body elections runs the gamut, from a landlord licensing scheme to free buses for students.

OUSA represents more than 17,000 students attending the University of Otago, and put out its policies on Wednesday, saying the had been selected, researched, and collated by students. OUSA would be asking Otago Regional Council and Dunedin City Council candidates to acknowledge the document, to make their stances on the policies clear, and to engage with the students on campus.  Landlords essentially had a gridlock over North Dunedin, knowing whatever standard their property was in there would be tenants, OUSA said.

Under a proposed licensing scheme, current and prospective landlords would be subject to assessment of the house they wanted to rent out, and of their standard of duty performance.

"The [DCC] has scope to implement [a licensing] system under the Local Government Act 2002,'' the OUSA document said.

"Dunedin is perfectly placed to be trailblazers in this respect.''

Free bus fares were also something OUSA was pushing for, saying travelling one zone to the tertiary district was costing students up to $17.20 a week.

In addition to a landlord licensing scheme, OUSA was keen for the council to establish a Rental Warrant of Fitness - which OUSA said would complement the government's Healthy Homes standard.

"Failure of a comprehensive WOF with a mind to continue renting could contemplate some form of compensation made by the landlord to each group of lessees, such as contribution to power charges over winter, or, upon assessment, a limit imposed on rent chargeable to tenants while the building is unfit.''

OUSA also called for development and commitment to a Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption Plan by the beginning of 2021 _ saying the DCC's recent declaration of a climate emergency was virtue signalling without a plan to back it up.

OUSA was also asking for the council to reinstate a one bottle per person policy at BYO premises rather than sharing a bottle between two as per the current Local Alcohol Policy, to reduce the harm caused by preloading.

Mental health also received a mention in the policy - OUSA calling for the Southern District Health Board to recommit to the goal of 80% of referrals from Emergency Psychiatric Services being seen within three weeks.

"OUSA recognises an ongoing crisis in young people's mental health. New Zealand has one of the highest youth suicide rates in the developed world.

"Undergoing tertiary education can become a pressure cooker of deadlines, limited resources, sickness and homesickness.''

elena.mcphee@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

Mandy Mayhem - Bullock speaks of Residents, rather than Ratepayers.