New Zealand Union of Students' Associations

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New Zealand Union of Students' Associations
NZUSA logo 2013.gif
Motto The voice of New Zealand's 400,000 students
Location Wellington, New Zealand
Established 1929
President Rory McCourt

The New Zealand Union of Students' Associations (NZUSA) is a representative body that advocates for the interests of tertiary students in New Zealand. It has 14 member students' associations, with a combined membership of over 180,000 students.[citation needed] Between 1935 and 2006, it was known as the New Zealand University Students' Association, until it merged with the national polytechnic students' association.


The organisation was founded in 1929 as the New Zealand National Union of Students, and initially focussed its activities on sporting and social concerns. It changed its name to the New Zealand University Students' Association in 1935, and over time gave greater focus to issues concerning student welfare, such as student access to healthcare. It developed a strong involvement in social issues during the 1960s and 1970s, opposing the Vietnam War, apartheid, and racial immigration policies, as well as supporting homosexual law reform.[citation needed]

The association has a long history of advocating for its members by opposing NZ Government policies it viewed as not in the interests of students. During the 1990s and 2000s the New Zealand government and New Zealand universities made large increases in fees for students, and limited access to allowances for study. These changes attracted much criticism from the NZUSA. In the 2005 New Zealand general election the organisation strongly advocated in favour of policies it long held. These include reduction of student debt, and universal access to student allowances for full-time students. Such policy was supported by many minor parties, including the Greens, New Zealand First and United Future.[citation needed] The Fifth Labour Government introduced 0% interest on student loans policy, but the organisation continues to campaign against decreasing access to student allowances and systemic fee increases.

NZUSA campaigned against the introduction of voluntary student membership (VSM), arguing that students did support compulsory membership of students' associations. NZUSA proposed a policy compromise, suggesting a "KiwiSaver style" opt-out arrangement where students would be members unless they explicitly said they did not want to be.[1] However, the campaign against VSM was not successful, and by 2012 all students' associations were required to be voluntary.

NZUSA after Voluntary Student Membership[edit]

A protest against Voluntary Student Membership in Wellington in December 2010

Since the introduction of voluntary student membership (VSM) in 2012, NZUSA has faced significant challenges. VSM led to the organisation no longer being guaranteed a revenue stream from member associations, and by 2012 it's funding had decreased by a third as members cut their contributions due to financial hardship.[2]

Withdrawal of association memberships[edit]

In August 2013, Waikato Students' Union announced that it would "temporarily withdraw" from NZUSA.[3] In response, Auckland University Students' Association (AUSA), Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (VUWSA) Otago University Students' Association (OUSA) put out a press release calling for significant reforms of NZUSA.[4]

Subsequently referendums were held at OUSA and VUWSA as to whether they should stay members of the national union.[5] The membership of both unions voted to stay part of the organisation, but the presidents at the respective organisations have promised substantial reforms.

In September 2014, VUWSA President Sonya Clark announced that after a unanimous vote by the executive, VUWSA would be withdrawing from the organisation (and had given its obligatory one-year notice of withdrawal).[6] President Clark said:

In response, NZUSA President Daniel Haines said he was

In November 2014, OUSA announced that it would also be withdrawing from NZUSA. Postgraduate Officer Kurt Purdon said NZUSA missed the opportunity to prove themselves in 2014, but instead of proving themselves, OUSA President Ruby Sycamore-Smith had single handily done more for Otago students than NZUSA. He further said: "We lose credibility by being a part of them. Even if membership were free, I’d have serious questions about being a member."[7]

NZUSA President Daniel Haines criticised OUSA for a lack of communication over their concerns, and responded to the withdrawal by saying:

In January 2015, former-VUWSA President Rory McCourt was elected President of NZUSA. He planned to focus on original research and "one central campaign" in his term.[8]


North Island[edit]

South Island[edit]


The organisation also has a National Women's Rights Officer (NWRO), who in 2008 was Analiese Jackson (formerly Women's Welfare Representative at the Albany Students' Association).

The Tertiary Women's Focus Group (TWFG) is a directive sub-group of NZUSA that is made up of women in students associations and coordinated the national Thursdays in black campaign.

List of Association Presidents, Co-Presidents, and Vice-Presidents[edit]

2012–2013 President Pete Hodkinson speaking at TEU event in 2013
2010–2011 Co-president David Do speaking at a protest in 2010
  • 2015 – Rory McCourt
  • 2014 – Daniel Haines
  • 2013 – Pete Hodkinson
  • 2012 – Pete Hodkinson
  • 2011 – David Do & Max Hardy
  • 2010 – David Do & Pene Delaney
  • 2009 – Jordan King & Sophia Blair
  • 2008 – Liz Hawes & Paul Falloon
  • 2007 – Joey Randall & Josh Clark
  • 2006 – Joey Randall & Connor Roberts
  • 2005 – Andrew Kirton & Camilla Belich
  • 2004 – Andrew Kirton & Fleur Fitzsimmons
  • 2003 – Roz Connelly and Fleur Fitzsimons
  • 2002 – Andrew Campbell and Charlie Chambers
  • 2001 – Sam Huggard and Andrew Campbell
  • 2000 – Tanja Schutz and Sam Huggard
  • 1999 – Karen Skinner and Tanja Schutz
  • 1998 – Sarah Helm and Patrick Rooney
  • 1997 – Michael Gibbs
  • 1996 – Grant Robertson and Alayna Ashby
  • 1995 – Paul Williams
  • 1994 – Jeremy Baker
  • 1993 – Kirsty Graham
  • 1992 – Dan Ormond
  • 1991 – Charlotte Denny/Emma Reid
  • 1990 – Suze Wilson
  • 1989 – Andrew Little
  • 1988 – Andrew Little
  • 1987 – Bidge Smith
  • 1986 – Alex Lee/Bidge Smith
  • 1985 – Jess Wilson
  • 1984 – Jess Wilson
  • 1983 – Robin Arthur
  • 1982 – Brian Small
  • 1981 – Deryck Shaw
  • 1980 – Simon Wilson
  • 1979 – Chris Gosling
  • 1978 – Lisa Sacksen
  • 1977 – Lisa Sacksen
  • 1976 – John Blincoe
  • 1975 – Alick Shaw
  • 1974 – Jim Crichton

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Students have better alternative to VSM - NZUSA". 3 News. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d Boot, Sophie (25 September 2014). "VUWSA withdraws from NZUSA". Salient (Wellington). Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Pearl, Harry (2 August 2013). "WSU withdraws from national body". Waikato Times. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  4. ^ Elder, Vaughan (24 August 2013). "OUSA joins call to rally". Otago Dailty Times. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  5. ^ McChesney, Sam (1 September 2013). "NZUSA in the Toilet: Hernandez Not Yet Ready to Flush". Critic magazine. Retrieved 7 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Vic students to leave NZUSA under VSM cloud". New Zealand Tertiary Education Union. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c Cochrane, Josie (27 November 2014). "OUSA Withdraws From NZUSA". Critic. Retrieved 9 January 2015. 
  8. ^ McChesney, Sam (30 January 2015). "VUWSA Experiencing Confidence Issues After NZUSA Hooks Up With Its Ex". Salient magazine. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 

External links[edit]