Logan Locked up for VSM's Bad Behaviour
The stunt was designed to protest the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill. The bill was introduced to Parliament by the ACT party and, if passed, could leave OUSA facing a $2.2 million dollar decrease in revenue next year as compulsory student levies would end.
Edgar’s cage was located on the Union Lawn and was surrounded by an 18m black wall where students were asked to add green handprints to show their opposition to the bill.
David Do, Co-President of the New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) said that, “the cage represents what could happen to students if the Bill is passed. Students would be locked out of the student services, campus life, and independent representation and advocacy that associations currently provide”.
Do went on to add that “this destructive Bill is not supported by students or the public, yet National continues to reward ACT by continuing to support this poor legislation. Almost 5000 submissions were made to Select Committee on the Bill last year and 98% were opposed. An independent public opinion poll in November last year showed that 77% of respondents felt students should decide the structure of membership of their associations, compared with just 17% who believed it should be the Government’s decision”.
ACT MP Heather Roy, who is behind the VSM bill, called Edgar’s protest “a cheap and misguided stunt” and went on to say “perhaps Logan is bored. His planned protest makes the opposite point to what he presumably intends…Ironically even by locking himself in a cage he is giving himself more choice than he gives the students he claims to represent. He can unlock himself from his cage at any time – students are forced to remain members of a student association whether they want to be or not”.
Controversy marked the start of the event, as an altercation developed between an unknown member of ACT on Campus and Edgar (covered in ‘Presidential Punchup on page XX). Nevertheless the protest went ahead as planned, with Edgar’s incarceration being streamed live via webcam to thousands of viewers that tuned in throughout the protest, including 11 people still watching Edgar at 2am in the morning.
The event received television coverage on TV3 news, Campbell Live and Channel 9, as well as appearing in the ODT and the NZ Herald.
During Edgar’s time in the cage the temperature dropped as low as -5C, and he told Critic that at one point he had frost on his face. Edgar attributed his survival to wearing a fisherman suit borrowed from a good friend and drinking mulled wine to keep the cold at bay.
The final day saw Edgar released at 1pm during the OUSA-run ‘postgraduate kids day’ where a bouncy castle, horses and dogs were available to entertain the children of postgraduate and mature students.
Logan left briskly after exiting the cage, telling Critic reporters that he “really needed a shit aye”. After urinating in a bucket live on the internet multiple times, Edgar was relieved that his bowels held strong throughout the protest as he didn’t want “anyone to see my browneye”.
Edgar told Critic that his next plan to highlight opposition to the VSM bill is to organise a police-controlled peaceful protest down George St in the upcoming weeks.
“Watch this space, we are going to need all scarfies to get right in behind this one”.