Students welcome mayoral candidates’ stance on a student-friendly Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) and VUW Politics Students’ Society welcomes mayoral candidates to debate on how they’ll improve Wellington living conditions for students, if elected.

Mayoral candidates, Andy Foster, Helene Ritchie, Jo Coughlan, Justin Lester, Nick Leggett and Nicola Young, will take the stage at Victoria University of Wellington in Kelburn on Wednesday 14 September at 1pm in The Hub.

They’ll be put on the spot and asked to answer how they plan to support a student friendly Wellington, how they’ll implement their campaign promises and how they’ll ensure a student-friendly Wellington over the next three years.

‘With over 40,000 students in Wellington, students’ make-up a large proportion of Wellington’s population, contributing around $2 billion to the local economy each year,’ says VUWSA’s President, Jonathan Gee.

‘This will be a great opportunity for candidates to discuss how they’ll support students, and the steps they’ll take to ensure the student voice is represented at the decision-making table.’

With the student population being as high as it is, students have more power to vote and push issues over the line than they realise. The health of our democracy relies on votes across demographics.

‘Often student issues aren’t the first things on mayoral candidates’ lips. This debate will be a welcome exception,’ says VUW Politics Students’ Society President, Lars Thompson.

‘When candidates engage with students it gets the message across that they care about our votes. It shows that our votes matter. It provides us with motivation to engage with the process, and the information necessary to do so in a meaningful way.’

Over the past two months VUWSA has pushed their Student Friendly Wellington campaign in the lead up to the local body elections.

This campaign focuses on two main improvements: Fairer Fares, a 50 percent tertiary discount on public transport; and a Rental Warrant of Fitness, standards which would ensure that all rental properties are warm, safe and dry before they become someone’s home.

‘Our councils need to step up and take action for the ghastly living realities of many of our students,’ says VUWSA’s Welfare Vice President, Rory Lenihan-Ikin.

‘Students also need to stand together and vote for the candidates that will make this city student friendly.

‘As all the attending mayoral candidates have signed a pledge to introduce a Rental Warrant of Fitness in Wellington, we look forward to hearing them reaffirm their support, talk about how they plan to implement.’  

The Mayoral Debate will be hosted by RadioNZ local government reporter, Michael Cropp.

VUWSA invited all Wellington mayoral candidates to this event.