The Albany Students’ Association (ASA) has given notice of its withdrawal from New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA). This is the first withdrawal from NZUSA for 2020.
ASA represents the students who study at the Massey University campus in Auckland. They are an Associate Member of NZUSA. ASA President, Dallin Niuelua, said it was “pretty much a financial decision”.
ASA’s current fees are around $6000 per year, but those increase by a few thousand each year. “Because fees are going up every year, it’s just not financially sustainable for us,” Dallin said. “We would love to stay members, but we can’t afford it anymore.”
He thinks NZUSA serves a useful role, but their fees were just not affordable. “NZUSA get results, just not straight away, and it’s not the groundwork, tangible sort of stuff.”
In December 2019, ASA voted to give a year’s notice of their withdrawal. The withdrawal will take effect in December 2020, unless they change their mind before then.
NZUSA found out about the decision in January 2020. Isabella Lenihan-Ikin, NZUSA’s President, describes the decision as “disheartening”. She attributes the decision to “significant financial pressures” stemming from the introduction of voluntary student membership (VSM) in 2011.
“The 2019 Executive of ASA felt they did not have the financial resources to continue paying for NZUSA membership,” Isabella said. However, she continued that NZUSA are “having productive conversations with the new 2020 ASA Executive about cancelling their withdrawal notice and continuing their membership with NZUSA.”
OUSA has signalled its intention to withdraw twice in the past, but has cancelled its withdrawal notice each time. VUWSA gave notice of its intention to withdraw in 2014, and has not cancelled that notice but has also not withdrawn from NZUSA.
NZUSA “are not concerned about other associations putting in their notice to withdraw”. They commented that NZUSA is “close to welcoming two new members to NZUSA, which will help to build on the strong national student voice that currently exists”.
President Jack Manning said that OUSA “respects ASA’s decision”. He also said that OUSA “continually review our membership with NZUSA by asking students at referendum whether they chose to remain a member. The last result in the May 2019 referendum came back at a clear majority in favour of remaining.”