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March 24, 2008 | by  | in News | [ssba]

VUWSA in $40,000 pickle, suprise suprise

The VUWSA Exec is facing a revision of its 2008 budget next month following a roughly $40,000 reduction in expected income.

According to Administration Vice-President Alexander Neilson, the $40,000 had been anticipated based on the projected student enrolment numbers provided by the University. Despite Neilson’s recommendation, the figure had been included in the budget.

“We were told there would be a two per cent increase in student numbers.”

Despite the recommendations given by Neilson during the budget setting, the figure had been included in the budget, leaving the Exec without the income expected from the extra levies when the increase did not eventuate.

As a result, a re-budget has been scheduled for April. “It’s a political decision what will get cuts,” Neilson said. Among areas facing potential cuts are clubs and rep groups, despite a motion passed by the Exec that allocated the revenue from their Establishment sponsorship towards the area.

VUWSA has a recent history of financial difficulties, with Neilson blaming the “[lack of] strong emphasis on the budget.” Over the past five years, the association’s reserves have decreased from approximately $400,000 to $60,000.

“They need to be at about $50,000 for the organisation to be stable,” Neilson said. The Exec are currently anticipating $20,000 to $30,000 surplus, or about one per cent of the total student levy income, which Neilson described as “really good.”


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  1. peteremcc says:

    Wait, didn’t we pass a motion last year to not cut funding to clubs, at all!

  2. matt the truck says:

    Well Petey.. I am sure that this $40,000 would have been covered in one of the 100 versions of the A-Team Budget(s)

  3. Chris says:

    When was the last time a candidate or group of candidates ever published an alternative VUWSA budget?

    For that matter when was the las time VUWSA actually kept to its budget?

  4. matt the truck says:

    Chris, publishing a (alternative) budget before a person knows anything about how an organisation works is plain stupid. Come on Chris, why don’t they write a budget for the entire country, fat lot of good that would do. How about they write all the budgets for everyone that uses a budget. Maybe they should write you one.

  5. matt the truck says:

    I know, maybe the A-Team should 2009 write a budget for VUW. You could present it to the Uni Council and tell them how great a alternative budget it. I am sure they would be warm to the idea. NO wait… they most likely laugh at you.

  6. pascal says:

    hey.. when is salient going to do a report on the VUWSA van

  7. McScandal says:

    WHY ISN’T anyone blogging about the Kiwiblog poll being stacked by someone at VUWSA (or possibly Salient) in support of Labour???

    COME ON! Get with the 8 Ball and Blog about this or are you sleeping on your one week holliday (when is next Salient coming out by the way?)…

  8. donor-for-a-money-bleeder says:

    It’s no surprise VUWSA can’t produce a decent budget or keep to one. Not only do they lack proffesional management, but they put key responsibilities in the hands of an inexperienced executive and a lucky-dip president.

    If VUWSA had a clue, they’d have a shit load more to show for it. The organisation is over 100 years old and has an income of more than $2 million a year. You think they’d have more student friendly assets by now.

    The Canterbury Uni student association executive has the good sense to employ an advisory board (they make around $9[million] a year from their assets and their students pay a significantly lower fee). The Otago and Auckland student associations employ general managers with salarys close to $100,000. Both of these associations charge their students a fraction of what VUWSA does and they’re also both loaded with assets.

    It’s a shame the A-team didn’t get in last year. They may have been hopelessly unpopular, but they would have given the association some much needed business sense.

  9. donor: “The Otago and Auckland student associations… charge their students a fraction of what VUWSA does”

    The VUWSA levy is $125.40; OUSA’s is $87.73. So yes, OUSA’s is technically a “fraction” of VUWSA’s – Just over 2/3, or to be more precise, 69%. However this comparison is misleading, as Otago also have a more substantial “Welfare and Recreation” levy than Vic – essentially, the way students fund their associations and activities is different. Here’s a more complete comparison of the non-tuition fees for full time (108+ points per year) students:

    VUWSA levy: $125.40.
    Amenities levy: c.$70.20+ (65c per point)
    Student services levy: $121.
    Student Assistance Levy: $24.
    Total: $340.60 (+65c for every point above 108)

    OUSA $87.82
    OUSA Building Levy $87.73
    Welfare & Recreation Fees $225.00
    Total: $400.55

    OUSA also charge an Internet Access Fee of $38.50, for which they get free internet. We pay no internet fee and get no interent, so I’ve taken that part levy out of the comparison. What this more complete comparison shows is that although Vic students pay 1/3 more in their levy proper than Otago students, the VUWSA levy covers some items which are paid for separately at Otago; and when all this is taken into account, it looks like most Vic students actually pay less in compulsory non-tuition fees than Otago students, making a large part donor’s argument defunct. However they are correct to note that VUWSA hasn’t been nearly as successful in developing its assets as many other students associations. And yes, the association is in serious financial trouble and does, as donor says, need more business sense. Furthermore, as a former Otago student I can vouch that the substantial extra cost Otago students pay in levies is worthwhile, as the clubs, societies and other recreational activities organised around campus there far outstrip what we have here. However, the idea that [VUWSA] are charging us far more than other associations is incorrect and I felt I should point this out.

    Figures taken from:

    p.s. donor: “Canterbury Uni student association… make around $9 a year from their assets” ??? um… that’s nice. An error perhaps?

    p.s.s pascal: “hey.. when is salient going to do a report on the VUWSA van”
    Next monday. Maybe you’ll criticise us for waiting for the facts before going to print, but that’s how we prefer to do things.

  10. donor-for-a-money-bleeder says:

    Cheers ed – great to hear you also think the association needs more business sense.

    Although the break down in non-tuition fees is something more students should be aware of, most of it has nothing to do with the student association so has nothing to do with my comment on VUWSA’s lacking competence. I realise saying “a fraction of the cost” was a little cheeky but my argument is hardly “defunct”. How the similarly-named Student Union spend their $121 has nothing to do with VUWSAs management. Congradulations on the research though.

    Ps. Yep, “$9 a year” was a mistake. It needs “million” in the middle.
    Pss. “… the idea that OUSA are charging us far more than other associations is incorrect…” VUWSA? I think if you were paying 69 percent more tuition fees at Vic than Otago, Vic wouldn’t have many students left. It is “far more” for what you get.

  11. “How the similarly-named Student Union spend their $121 has nothing to do with VUWSAs management.”

    But it does, because the strange and unique co-existence of VUWSA and the Union (a sub-division of campus facilities) impacts on the way VUWSA is able to function. For example, VUWSA is unable to profit from Mount Street Bar sales. Since OUSA directly controls its student bar (Re:fuel) and student union hall, it is able to take in all that extra revenue. VUWSA entirely funded the SUB rebuilding in ’91, but is not allowed to profit from the building. This fucking sucks, and it also means that I got $3 pints at Otago, but can’t get anything near that here. Hence we’re not getting value for money.

    So you’re right that VUWSA is troubled, and VUWSA’s troubles largely stem from their own inability to develop the level of assets which Otago, Canty and Auckland students’ associations now have. But part of the reason why they do not have such assets is because VUW shat on them and took them away.

  12. Chris says:

    Matt – they knew an awful lot about how the organisation functioned. They may have wanted to can some services, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t know how VUWSA ran.

    Your examples are silly.

  13. matt the truck says:

    Really Chris, they knew a lot? Should we just take your word as gold? They knew a lot of staff agreements? I think not. You are silly.

  14. matt the truck says:

    Another point Chris – if ‘they knew an awful lot about how the organisation functioned’, then why good sir, did they keep changing their budget every time it was pointed out to them that their budget would not work? How many times did they change their budget to suit? So Chris, if they knew an awful lot about how the organisation functioned, why did they need to change their original budget in the first place?

  15. Chris says:

    No, because those staff agreements are confidential, and rightly so. No candidate could know about such matters.

    I have no idea how many times they changed their budget. I wasn’t involved with their campaign, except on a very peripheral level. I imagine it was probably refined in response to questions and feedback – as any good budgeter would do.

    The point is, you can know quite a lot – but not everything. A changing budget probably reflected that fact.

    The reality is that the A-Team admirably went into the last election with an alternative vision and budget of what VUWSA could and should do. That is more than any group of candidates has done for the last decade.

    They lost, and that is fine. Certainly their conduct in their loss was far more admirable than the rather pathetic backslapping and name-calling that their opponents engaged in. I find it sad how people won’t even recognise the good things that the A-Team brought to last year’s elections.

  16. matt the truck says:

    “The point is, you can know quite a lot – but not everything.” No Chris, the point is, the budget(s) the A-Team came up with weren’t worth the paper they were written on. If they were elected, they would not be able to implement any of the versions they came up with.
    “I imagine it was probably refined in response to questions and feedback – as any good budgeter would do. Is this not the case here for the 2008 exec? Your points are redundant… I would expect more from a world class debater.

    The A-Team have no clue how VUWSA runs, their budgets were worthless, and I have not said anything about what they brought to the elections, apart from the worthless budgets they came up with.

  17. Chris says:

    Well, so you say, “Matt”. You seem to know an awful lot yourself.

    Yes, the 2008 exec would have gone through varous budget drafts.. I certainly hope it did. My point was in your response to your original criticism, which was that the A-Team budgets went through various versions. You now seem to be agreeing that that was a good thing.

    Ultimately all this is pretty silly. The simple point I am making is that the A-Team should be commended for the fact that they went into the 2007 VUWSA elections with an alternative budget, which no candidate, to my knowledge, has done for many years. Even if the budget(s) weren’t perfect, even if they had errors in them, and didn’t reflect total knowledge about everything VUWSA does and the way it operates, that is still a considerable achievement. Feel free to think that just because they weren’t aware of confidential staff contracts, or other things you are no doubt now going to list, the budgets were worthless.

  18. matty la truck says:

    Chris, the difference between the 2008 exec budget and the A-team budget is that the 2008 exec budget is appropriate to each situation. When something like the above article comes along, the budget is adjusted. The exec has a clue whats going on.

    On the other hand, the (l)A(me) – team budget was never appropriate to any situation. It was made up on a whim. They A-Team have no real knowledge on how the organisation functioned. It was adjusted when any real situation was pointed out to them. None of their budgets would work. If they were elected, they would have had to draft a budget that would be total different to any intent they had. That is why it is useless.

    The point of difference is that the A-Team had no real idea, no matter if you claim they did .

    Sure, they came up with something different, never done before… an alternative budget, but so what, if you have no idea of how an organisation works, the budget is useless.

    Also, the 2007 exec, (I could be wrong), had their budget approved in 2006, and they stuck to budget. So answer you question “For that matter when was the las time VUWSA actually kept to its budget?” Last year

    P.S. Matt is my middle name

  19. UNVoice says:

    Question: Why are VUWSA attempting to run this student body as a business……I’ve met these people and even talked to them……..and perhaps I’m missing something but they seem like people who have no business experince at all…….why are we paying them a wage if they do not know what they are doing……history dictates that VUWSA has always had problems and this $40,000 dollar mess is an example of miss management, their inability to communicate effectively, their inability to identify and maintain possiable financial oppertunities that may benefit students, their failuire to secure a workable and realistic budget, They have no clue as to what they are doing, They have no clue about how to manage its finances and how to utilize such finances in a way that could raise that $2mil to something more substantial.

  20. diddums says:

    anyone like to look at the last year exec and president and recognise they were mostly a pack of fucktards

    Alexander and Jasmine have thier heads on straight and care about the association and the students……..that can not be said for last years president who was a total liability to the association.

    this years exec are unfortunatly cleaning up the bullshit that has been left behind, and I feel for them.

    if anyones head should be on the block is should be cosgroves

  21. Gordon from Glasgow says:

    We coulda poot Cosgrrove on tha block in the quad ta pay back the association fur the money he owes ’em and the face hes lost tha association; IN TRADE. If ya git whot aye mean.

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