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Hot Issues & Campaigns




Public Transport

OPSA frequently receives complaints about the inadequacy of bus time-tables and routes, and the cost of bus fares.

Over the last decade OPSA and OUSA have worked with the Regional Council, and routes and timetables have been improved to better meet the needs of Polytechnic students, and we are grateful for these.

However, OPSA is continuing to work for a more affordable bus service, and is pleased to announce in early 2014 a 25% student discount scheme will be trialed.

OPSA has proposed several fairer models of fares, including a fare-free system.


Education Campaign

Our parents' generation got their education not just interest-free - but almost entirely for free. However, rather than re-pay it via fair taxes, they now live in a relatively low-tax country and have effectively passed their debt on to us by implementing user-pays education.

Student Debt
Tertiary education was relatively free until 1989 when user-pays education was introduced. While the government still significantly subsidises tertiary education, New Zealand has since became one of the most expensive places to study in the world.

OPSA believes in everyone's right to access a quality tertiary education. But user-pays education creates a significant barrier to this right for many people. User-pays effectively means Payer-uses, because only those who can pay are able to use.

When fees were dramatically increased in the early 1990s the government was forced to introduce the student loans scheme so people could afford to study. Student loans have allowed many people access to study that otherwise would not be able to in a user-pays system, but they have of course also transferred debt on to graduates (until interest was removed, student debt was set to exceed the country's national debt before 2020).

Student Debt

Universal Allowances
Students should not be the only class of people forced to borrow simply to eat. All full-time students should be entitled to an adequate living allowance equivalent to the dole. A basic human right you would have thought.

New Zealand has had explosive fees increases during the 1990s, and still has fee increases that outstrip inflation. Research carried out by New York's Buffalo University ranks New Zealand fourth in the world for fees at public tertiary institutions. The average costs are higher than those at similar institutions in Australia, the USA and the UK

.Students can afford fees

Interest on debt was highly unfair - a lower-income worker (eg a nurse) could end up paying more in total for their education than a higher-income worker who could pay off their debt more quickly (eg a doctor).

Fair's fair
Our parents' generation got their education not just interest-free - but almost entirely for free. However, rather than re-pay it via fair taxes, they now live in a relatively low-tax country and have effectively passed their debt on to us by implementing user-pays education.

USER PAYS: Hazardous to Your Health





Thursdays in Black

Wearing black on Thursdays indicates that you have a desire for a community where we can all walk safely without fear of being beaten-up, verbally abused, raped, discriminated against because of your gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. It shows that you want to be free.

Thursdays in Black T-shirts are for sale from OPSA office.





While there are many great flats out there, sadly some of Dunedin's rental housing stock is not suitable for its usage. You should be awre what you're really signing up for.

Dunedin landlords have a free system available to them to give their flats a standardised rating (based on an idea OPSA presented to the DCC in 2004), allowing renters to better know what they're signing up for. Check all the flats on your next year's list to see which flat is really best - Student Tenancy Accommodation Rating Scheme.

If you have a specific problem with your current flat contact OPSA if you need help or advice dealing with your landlord.




Undy 500

OPSA has in the past warned its members that it will expel students guilty of illegal activities as part at the Undy 500 event: OPSA intends to expel any members guilty of violence or damage, and calls for end to Undie 500 unless it can be run safley.

OPSA's best recommendation to students is simply to stay away from the event until it is run legally and safely.





The Otago Polytechnic Students’ Association in partnership with Otago Polytechnic is offering all Otago Polytechnic Students free STI checks for the month of April 2009.

STI campaign




Smoke Alarms

The Otago Polytechnic Students' Association is reminding student tenants and landlords to take steps to avoid house fires in the coming winter.

OPSA supports smoke-alarms being made compulsory in all rental accomodation.




Save Your Services

OPSA has lost the VSM battle (see below). The VSM Bill was passed at the last member's session of the 2011 parliament. Thankfully changes to the original bill allow OPSA to be a contracted services provider to the Polytechnic, and OPSA will work to retain as many of its services for students as posibile.

The VSM bill was a hot issue. The Act Party's proposed "full-blown" VSM has only ever been tried in Australia, and largely ended up costing students more - in return for less services and representation.



Another predicted effect of the bill is that students' associations will no longer be a strong voice or organisation for student issues - no one to voice students concerns about the increasing costs of education, no one to stand up for you when you have issues with your institution, and no one to complain about erosion of student support...



Indeed looking at the Australian effects of VSM on their smaller associations - like OPSA - many have been forced to disband. There's no reason to think that VSM won't have the same effect on OPSA if the Polytechnic chose not to continue to enter into a services agreement - so not only will your services and voice be harmed, they'll could be gone altogether.

More information about VSM and its effects can be found here.




Make yourself heard

Make Yourself Heard

Write a letter to the editor of most any NZ newspaper you choose.

Write a letter to an MP.

Give Otago Polytechnic feedback, use the "Your voice @ OP" option.







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