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Friday, 26 April 2019 11:41 am

Student-friendly candidate needed, says discount campaigner

Sep 27th, 2016 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

A Victoria University student who fought for subsidised transport for students earlier this year – and lost – is urging peers to vote for a student-friendly candidate this election.

Byron Oosthuizen, 19, started a petition via Facebook in March to rally for a subsidy on transport costs.

The petition gained 3500 signatures.

He then submitted a proposal at the Greater Wellington Regional Council annual plan meeting in May, along with members of the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) and councillor Sue Kledger.

The proposal was struck down.

COP

Victoria University, Kelburn.

Victoria University have since hosted a meet-the-candidates meeting at Vic’s Kelburn campus where the issue was brought up again.

All candidates were against a discount because of the annual cost of even a small drop in ticket prices, however most said they would be interested in working towards it.

“I think we need to be more creative about how we find the funding,” says candidate Jo Coughlan.

Byron says he’s leaning towards Jo.

“She’s putting a lot of work into transport and roading and stuff like that so she’s going to find ways to alleviate transport”.

The council has said they will look at other solutions to address costs in the future, including a 25% discount for anyone, students or otherwise, using public transport during off-peak hours.

Byron says this idea is a “cop-out”.

“The stupid thing is it wouldn’t help uni students anyway because there are lots of lectures in the peak-hours, so if all your lectures are in those times you would still have to pay as if nothing had changed.”

Byron says students have been rallying for subsidised rates in the capital for years.

“I think it’s just ridiculous that it hasn’t come to anything yet, especially when there’s such a need for it.”

He is however optimistic students will see changes within five years.

“When more people are choosing Auckland and Christchurch and stuff as options – because public transport is a cost to factor in, and it can be a very big deterrent for Wellington – then they will (reconsider it).”

Tertiary student transport costs in Wellington compete against a 40% student discount in Auckland and free transport for students in Palmerston North.

He says although VUWSA has put the issue on the backburner since having the proposal turned down in May, the upcoming change in the association’s president may bring a fresh perspective to the issue.

“I think with the petition and stuff we got such a massive support behind it, whereas now it’s died down again. But it will come back, when there’s someone pushing for it, all the time.”

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