Press Release: Overnight Box University set up at Victoria University

October 13, 2011

Overnight Box University set up at Victoria in opposition to management slash and burn.

Students at Victoria University have constructed a ‘Box University’ within the Murphy Overbridge, overlooking Kelburn Parade, to raise awareness and organise against the cuts and attacks which University management are undertaking against staff and students.

The box university is a rare chance for students to creatively construct and engage with what we want Victoria to look like. The box uni is an environment conducive to critical thinking and free thought, something that management has denied students.

“This University is funded by ten’s of millions of dollars of public money, through taxes or directly through student loans and yet we have no say over what happens in our name and with our money,” says Shannon Keast – student and Site Manager of the Box Uni.

Victoria University management have been cutting resourcing and staffing throughout various university departments for more than half a decade now and students and staff are seeing the effects all around the Uni.

The International Relations programme is being fundamentally reshaped, against staff wishes and in the face of over 1000 students who have signed a petition against the changes. The Certificate in University Preparation, VUW’s bridging course is also being cut, with staff handed out redundancy notices for February 2012.

“People who have tried to engage with the changes or express their thoughts have been bullied by management. I’m really excited to be engaging with other students to find a creative way forward for Vic” says Bronte, student and spokesperson for the group.

Students will be staying overnight and have planned lectures, boardgames and wider discussions about the direction of the university.


Election series article # 8: Defend MMP in the 2011 referendum

October 13, 2011

This article by Jared Phillips first appeared in the June 2011 issue of The Spark.

This year New Zealand electors will vote in a national referendum, held as part of the general elections, asking them firstly to indicate whether they want to change from MMP, and secondly to indicate their preferred electoral system. The other options are First Past the Post (FPP), Preferential Voting (PV), Single Transferable Vote (STV), and Supplementary Member (SM). If a majority votes in favour of retaining MMP that decision will be binding. However, if a majority votes against retaining MMP, there will be a further referendum in 2014 whereby electors will decide between MMP and whichever alternative procedure gains the most support in the 2011 referendum. If a new system is selected in 2014 it will come into effect at the 2017 election.

Real advanced democracy can only be imposed and administered by the majority of working people through a workers‘ government. In the current period though, in which the working class has clearly not yet recovered organisationally or politically from the onslaught of neo-liberalism, it is important to ensure that the electoral system offering the most democratic electoral procedure prevails. From this point of view it is in the best interests of the working people and oppressed groups to retain MMP.

Read the rest of this entry »


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