My submission to the Voluntary Student Unionism Select Committee at 10.10am today
I'm presenting this to the Select Committee this morning at 10.10am - it's me and Roger Douglas for 10 minutes, footage will be posted onto YouTube if we can film it.
My name is Martyn Bradbury, I am a political commentator, blogger and broadcaster. I host two TV shows on the Sky TV platform, The War on News and Citizen A, and I appear on Radio NZ’s ‘The Panel’, TV3’s ‘The Nation’ and TVNZ’s ‘Q+A’.
My involvement in students’ association came about through my writing. As a poet, and going on to writing arts reviews and editing the Auckland University student magazine Craccum, I experienced what the student movement offers – not just to its members in the form of representation, services and advocacy, but in its contribution to the media and to the arts.
My career in the media is possible because of the experience I gained working in student media, and that is true for a large contingent of broadcasters working today. Its also true for musicians who established their careers playing Orientation gigs, actors who performed in student plays and a huge range of others working in creative industries.
This bill threatens to undermine the work that student associations do which enriches NZ culturally By pooling resources, student associations create a variety of different spaces where artists and journalists can learn and experiment, and with some great results. Those of us working in the media stimulating debate around political issues and encouraging critical thinking and political participation are also helping to make our democracy better. Students’ associations have made a vital contribution to that work.
This Bill would bring about a series of disastrous results and it would be foolish to discount the negative effects on the arts and media – and all because a few ACT party members are opposed to any kind of collectivism.
I understand some members have been concerned about the impact on Sports teams, I’m concerned with the impact on the arts and politics, all benefit from compulsory student unionism.
For those with real ideological issues with collective representation, they have always had the ability to argue their case and opt out of being a union member, so the gains caused by abolishing the perceived human rights abuse of compulsory student unionism in my mind certainly doesn’t add up.
I don’t wish to be cynical, but it seems the pointless crushing of the student union movement is more an ideological patsy for Sir Rodger Douglas to stop talking about flat tax. Which in itself is a foolish suggestion, as nothing could stop Sir Rodger Douglas from talking about flat tax.
Student Unionism creates a hothouse for sports, politics and arts, shutting it down because of ideological vanity is unnecessary political vandalism.
I thank the committee for allowing me the opportunity to express my opinion on this issue to you today.