Winter of discontent paralyses destitute Auckland students

Winter of discontent paralyses destitute Auckland students

A study released this month suggests that 15% of students suffer from “absolute” financial distress and are unable to afford basic accommodation, food and clothing requirements.

The Graduate Longitudinal Study, which produced the findings, sampled nearly 9,000 sutdents in their final year across New Zealand’s eight universities between July and December 2011. It will continue to follow these graduates over the next ten years.

The Auckland University Students’ Association (AUSA) has used this result to call for government recognition of student hardship. AUSA President Arena Williams encouraged student bodies around the country to “start asking questions about whether the government is fulfilling its role to ensure that everyone with the potential to succeed in tertiary education has a fair chance.”

As evidence Williams cited one Auckland Uni student whose flat was so “freezing” that “after a few hours your feet and hands get numb.” While this harrowing account has provoked the sympathy of some Otago students, many scarfies are thought to be confident that our northern brethren will survive the winter with at least four fingers on each hand intact. OUSA President Logan Edgar has controversially suggested that scarfies might be worse off than up north, given that the majority of Otago students “don’t live with their parents and have to buy their own piss.”

With the 15% figure equating to 3,000 students in “absolute hardship” at the University of Otago, Edgar acknowedged the extent of student suffering. “Yeah fuck, some cunts are doing it rough,” he sadly muttered, before mumering something about traumatic flashbacks to his own “youth”.

As a solution, AUSA has called for improvements to the student living allowance scheme. The maximum entitlement of $170.80 for students under the age of 24 has been criticised for being too little to keep up with rising living costs.

AUSA has also suggested that “widespread student poverty” can be blamed for detrimental grades. When asked for comment, scarfies generally denied their academic success was being hindered by destitution. As one told Critic, “I wouldn’t say that’s what impedes it. After all, I study marketing. If I fail that then let’s face it, no amount of dough is ever going to raise my IQ above that of a really smart carrot. I would rather have that money further on down the line, when my cirrhosis gets really bad and my parents start charging me for board.”
This article first appeared in Issue 9, 2012.
Posted 4:56pm Sunday 29th April 2012 by Josie Adams.