A momentous Wednesday night for our Student Friendly Wellington campaign

Last Wednesday just passed we made a massive win on the Fairer Fares campaign. 

We made the extra vote needed to have majority support around the Council table on this issue. 

We co-hosted a meeting together with students from Porirua, about how the cost of public transport greatly impacts on those living in the wider Wellington region; Hutt Valley Porirua, Wairarapa, Kapiti Coast. 

Until now, one of the Councillors representing Porirua, Jenny Brash, had consistently voted against a student fare, despite the struggle faced by thousands of students in her community to get to university each day. 

Five local students spoke at the event, and each brought a unique and powerful story to the table. Saleima Samuelu spoke of her first attempt at getting a degree at Vic a number of years ago, which she had to relinquish because of the cost of getting into the city every day, and Elyjana Roach spoke of the need to design our cities in a way that people can actually get around, and have access to things like higher education. 

Each speaker was moving and persuasive, and the message clearly got through to Jenny Brash. During her response, Brash agreed for the first time to sign VUWSA’s pledge for a Student Discount on public transport!

This is a massive step forward for the Student Friendly Wellington Campaign. It means that of the current sitting councillors, we now have a majority support around the table for a 50% discount on public transport for tertiary students. 

However, the job is a long way from being done. This is all the more reason why it’s important to vote in these local body elections and ensure the supportive candidates all get elected. 

Jump on our website to see the updated list of supportive candidates, and keep an eye out for voting papers in your mailbox from the 16th September. 

Rory Lenihan-Ikin

Welfare Vice President

Stay stress free during exams – June 2016

It’s that time of the year again and Stress Free Study Week is back! 

As usual we are providing free breakfasts and lunches every day at Kelburn, Pipitea and Te Aro campuses.

We’ll have cereal, toast and Peoples Coffee followed by delicious vegan Hare Krishna curry and rice (it's gluten free too ;).

The ever popular SPCA puppies will be here once again, also visiting each of the three campuses. 

This trimester we are taking things a step further with the Kitten Inn bringing furry felines to Kelburn for the first time.

We'll also have the exciting addition of DINNER, with MTR making its debut in The Hub on Wednesday and Thursday nights. 

In addition, the Rec Centre are putting on free classes throughout the week, and have gold coin entry to the fitness centre so you can keep those endorphins flowing. 

If that's not enough, CanDo are hosting lego building and creative play in The Hub, and Hare Krishna are putting on a meditation workshop. 

And if you find any time to study among all this, a couple of the student faculty groups are running study sessions throughout the week. 

Jump onto our website for full details, and see you next week!

Rory Lenihan-Ikin – Welfare Vice President

Unfair fares, and what VUWSA will do next

Last week we gave an oral submission, supporting an earlier written submission requesting the Greater Wellington Regional Council include a 25% tertiary discount on public transport be added to the 2016/17 annual plan.

Additionally, Byron Oosthuizen submitted a petition with 3,587 signatures supporting student tertiary fares..

The Council initially indicated they supported at 25% tertiary student discount policy on public transport on the provision that Wellington City Council and other tertiary institutes also contributed financially (they voted for this in 2014).

However, councillors voted down on an amendment proposed by Councillor Sue Kedgley to add the tertiary discount to this year’s Annual Plan.

Read Students disappointed with Council’s inaction 

The Council’s proposition

Councillors Sue Kedgley, Paul Bruce, Nigel Wilson and Sandra Greig all voted in favour of including tertiary discounts on public transport be added to this year’s annual plan.

Ms Kedgley stated students contribute more than $2 billion to the Wellington economy – all true.

Additionally, she noted her concern some students pay more for their bus fares than for food. She mentioned this causes real stress – true again.

What happens next?

Not including reduced bus fares in the annual plan is a short-sighted approach. Integrating student-friendly policies, such as reduced public transport would position Wellington as a more attractive destination for students.

Local body elections are coming in September. VUWSA will be calling on candidates to prioritise a student-friendly Wellington.

We'll also be calling out for your support to help us push for a student-friendly Wellington.