Self-delusion continues at NZUSA
You've probably seen one of those old cartoons about the crazy guy who thinks he's Napoleon. Well in Wellington there's a group which thinks it's the representative body for all New Zealand's tertiary students.
The 9 March edition of The New Zealand Education Review carried a story about how NZUSA has gained two new member associations since the demise of the Aotearoa Tertiary Students Association (ATSA). ATSA collapsed and was liquidated following a series of financial disasters. The article said some former ATSA members had not wanted to commit to membership of NZUSA because of questions about their financial liability for ATSA's debts.
NZUSA currently has 16 members. The article said the organisation was in the process of "making other changes to ensure it was addressing all students' needs." NZUSA co-president Joey Randall said the point of national representation " is about ensuring all students have a voice nationally".
So let's see, NZUSA claims to be the "voice" of all students yet it's an organisation:
- which individual students cannot join on an individual basis
- has leaders who are not elected on the basis of 'one member, one vote'
- is based on compulsory membership; students are forced to belong to member associations and through this are forced to pay the costs of NZUSA
- supports policies and takes positions which many individual students oppose
- students can't disassociate themselves from
If NZUSA wants to have any legitimacy it should allow students the freedom to join on an individual basis. Of course this would mean selling the benefits of the organisation. It's much easier to tap into the money provided by compulsory membership.