Politics can be frustrating. Back in 2013 after VUWSA spent years campaigning for a student discount on public transport, the road block seemed to clear and finally things started moving.
But as a result of some sneaky political manoeuvre by a powerful local councillor three years on, we find ourselves worse off than we were before: stuck with the most expensive student transport of any major NZ city.
Despite this, we keep pushing ahead because we know how much a discount on public transport means to students. Time again, the issue that is consistently raised with us is the need for a student discount on public transport. This was reinforced earlier in the year when this student petition got over 3,500 signatures.
The time is ripe for another big push to get this over the line in the Local Body Elections this September when the transport decision-makers get elected.
What's happened so far this year?
- In May we presented our case to the Regional Councillors, as part of their consultation on the annual plan.
- Councillor Sue Kedgley, an unwavering supporter of our policy, put it to vote. And as they have often done, the others supported it in principle, but have not yet prioritised the money for it.
- A few weeks later, the Council seemed to have warmed to the idea, but crumbled to legal advice that said they could no longer implement it due to lack of consultation – despite years of public arena discussions; and as outlined in various annual plans and transport plans.
Anyway, this is where we're currently at. We have a Council that claim to like it, but want other people to fund it.
Our job now is to get loud over the next few months. To make it clear this City needs a public transport discount if it's serious about valuing students.
We need to make this an election issue, and then we need to vote in candidates who will make it happen. This might sound out of reach, but it truly is not. With around 4,000 votes needed to win a seat on the Regional Council, the many thousands of Vic students have the ability to swing it, and show that we are an important voice in this city.
Don’t be silenced and let old people make decisions! Watch this space and let's get bus fares over the line in 2016.