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  • Ethan Rogacion

Motion Accepted: VUWSA Agrees To Do A Bunch Of Things


Last Wednesday, VUWSA Te Aka Tauira held its AGM which, unfortunately, does not stand for A lot of Gold and Money. Instead, it refers to an Annual General Meeting, in which VUWSA does a lot of Procedural Stuff. An AGM also allows student members—who VUWSA represent—to ask questions of its executive, and to pass motions.

It took over 20 minutes for the AGM to get started, as VUWSA struggled to pull together its minimum quorum of one hundred students—the organisation’s constitution states that if it fails to reach this number in 30 minutes of the scheduled start time, the meeting lapses and no business is able to take place. 

Nonetheless, the meeting did begin shortly after quorum was met. Marcail Parkinson, current VUWSA President, went on to outline what she saw as the big targets for VUWSA this year, including a campaign on renting that offers practical advice and more “politically angled” actions, new campaigns and clubs grants, and pushing for the University to become a living wage organisation. This is despite VUWSA itself not paying its executive a living wage (page 8).

Sterling Maxwell from Ngāi Tauira also spoke at the AGM, appearing alongside Parkinson to discuss the VUWSA/Ngāi Tauira work plan which, they say, includes pressing for NT to get a service level agreement with the University, and for the establishment of remuneration for Ngāi Tauira. Currently, VUWSA is the only student advocacy group on campus that is paid. 

There was only one piece of general business raised at the meeting—a motion by Salient Editor Phoebe Robertson to “adopt a shark through the Sustainable Oceans Society, and to name it Nic ‘Salient’ Smith.” She argued that, “By supporting this project, VUWSA can contribute to valuable research efforts while promoting public safety and environmental stewardship.” Prior to the meeting, Robertson said that she was feeling “excited”, and “felt confident about her motion.”

This confidence, it turns out, was unfounded—the motion failed dramatically after questions were raised about whether money to fund the shark adoption could be better used to fund other projects. Robertson revealed that the shark would cost VUWSA $4,000. After failing to adopt the motion, and also the shark, she told Salient that, “You know what, I participated in democracy, so I’m still really excited.”

The final business of the meeting was the declaration of the winners of the VUWSA by-election. From 265 votes cast, Pierson Palmer was elected to the Academic Vice-President position, and Lupeoaunuu Vaai was elected Clubs and Activities officer. The Postgraduate Rep (a role created by VUWSA in 2023) was also vacant, but no nominees stood for the position and it thus remains empty. 

Palmer said that he is, “very excited to get stuck in and get some real work done at VUWSA,” aiming to focus on “quality of education.” Vaai told Salient she is especially grateful to Pasifika students who backed up her campaign, and said that she hopes to help bring about a campus that is “pulsing with energy, diversity and [inclusivity].”


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