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Well-articulated rant #1

18 Jun

This week, ElevenHoursAhead will be publishing the thoughts of current and former students on the real value of the student allowance system. Here is today’s personal reflection from Kiri Stevens:

When does that moment come when a parent looks at their children and says “Stupid socialists, dumb communists…I’ve got a f***ing living to make, I had to pay fees too and now I have to work to pay them off!” Okay so maybe the person who said this doesn’t have kids but he did yell this at some Auckland students protesting the changes to the student allowance. When I read that I felt pretty upset – like the comments were directed at me, and since when did it become okay to swear at a bunch of young people. Actually when did it become okay to swear at anyone? But as I read, I was only to become more upset when another bystander was quoted as saying “There are ways to be political and blocking other people is not one of them…[a]nything that doesn’t inconvenience other people would be better, they’re disguising their selfish naivety as noble.” Hang on now, when did protesting become about making sure you are NOT inconveniencing people? Perhaps this guy should have a yarn to um, I don’t know, Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Te Whiti, all those peeps in east Germany in 1989, Egyptians, Tunisians, Burmese, Chinese at Tiananmen square, the millions that took part in Occupy worldwide … So okay, the things that us students are protesting are almost embarrassing to say when viewed in this company, but people protest when they feel like they aren’t being listened to, that their everyday life, however lived, is somehow being judged as not as important as someone else’s. I have got through University relatively unscathed. With the help of a student allowance my student loan is only $20 000. I pity the students that fill my space in the University. Someone just told those future nurses, doctors, teachers, council workers or, dare I say it our future political leaders, that they don’t care. Which is a shame, because us students – well we’re you’re future.

(Which actually as your future representative in parliament – could become a real bummer for you when we decide to cap you superannuation at three years, or four for life lived with honour).

Kiri Stevens

A week of well-articulated rants

17 Jun

The idea behind this series of ‘well-articulated rants’ in which past and former students give their thoughts on the real value of the student allowance was triggered by an idiotic comment on facebook about students. The comment was nothing new, the same old ‘well why don’t they get a job and start contributing to society’ mantra that is often repeated but rarely elaborated on. However in the context of the changes to the student allowance system to which the person was referring, the comment took on new significance. It had become an opinion that the government had effectively sanctioned through their decision to cut allowances to post-graduate students. During the coming week, ElevenHoursAhead will be posting the thoughts of past and current students on the flaws in this new policy. The criticisms come from many angles ranging from the impracticality of the policy change and its unethical nature to broader concerns about the type of society it will contribute to creating.

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Something is Rotten in the State of New Zealand

7 May

Some of the contributors to elevenhoursahead took part in the Aotearoa Not for Profit hikoi last Friday. We were proud and humbled to march with 2000- 5000 fellow New Zealanders against the sale of New Zealand’s publically owned assets.  It was therefore with dismay and disappointment that we later watched John Key offhandedly dismiss the voices of his fellow kiwis in an interview with John Campbell. Fellow blogger Diane Revoluta has written this brilliant post titled Something is Rotten in the State of New Zealand (4th May 2012) which summarises much of our anger and frustration. We thought we would share it with you:    

Yesterday somewhere between 2000-5000 people marched in Wellington against the government’s plans to partially sell state assets. This followed a similar sized march in Auckland last weekend and a week-long hikoi starting in Cape Reinga. After last year’s record low voter turn out, it would seem that when it comes to political issues apathy is rife in New Zealand. People seem disinterested in the traditional ways in which politicians engage with the public and disillusioned by the corruption and lack of integrity displayed by some politicians. Which is why the size of these protests and the strength of the opposition to asset sales is all the more impressive. Protest is the antithesis of apathy, and the fact that an issue has mobilised so many New Zealanders is good reason for the government to sit up and take notice.

Did John Key sit up and take notice? No. In fact, John Key’s response to thousands of New Zealanders spending their lunch break protesting on the streets (and thousands more supporting them from around the country on Twitter, Facebook and other online forums) was this:  “How many people did they have? Ok, where was it? [laughs] Well, OK, no I wasn’t aware of it.”

Read the full blog here: http://dianerevoluta.tumblr.com/

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Overuse of Urgency (law-making 101: part two)

21 Mar

In the past year there has been growing concern that the National government has been abusing their power to pass laws under urgency. ‘Urgency’ is a normal parliamentary tool used to help deal with a backload of work but critics argue increasingly the use of urgency to pass laws is threatening transparency, scrutiny in the normal select committee process and the public’s ability to engage with this process. Some bills that have been passed under urgency since 2008 include the sacking of Environment Canterbury’s elected council, the increase of GST and the introduction of National Standards for primary schools. This is the second part of a blog on Law-making 101. I will briefly explain what ‘urgency’ is and how it is potentially being abused. Several media and blog sites have commented on this here, here and here

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