8 Sep 2011

Students assn seeks hearing over bill

6:31 am on 8 September 2011

The national Maori tertiary students association says it's filed a claim seeking an urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing over an ACT Party MP's attempt to make membership of student associations voluntary.

The association representing Maori, Te Mana Akonga and the New Zealand Union of Students Associations are against Heather Roy's members' bill.

The Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill would make membership of tertiary student associations voluntary.

Te Mana Akonga tumuaki (president) Jacqualene Poutu says that making joining the association optional could lead to fewer members - which would weaken the representation of Maori students.

Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell tried, during a debate in Parliament on Tuesday night, to have the bill's progress suspended immediately and have it referred to the Waitangi Tribunal, but his attempt was blocked.