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July 6, 2008 | by  | in Online Only | [ssba]

NZUSA Update 4: Salient barred, VUWSA enraged. Responsible government threatened!

The final session of the NZUSA conference has just begun. Its a closed plenary session where the motions originally mooted are discussed and finally voted on. Traditionally its a session held in council, media are not allowed to report on it. When I asked what the authority, and justification for this was, I received no answer. I assumed it’s because media cant be fucked going to these events, so there was no need. But your intrepid and courageous reporter wasn’t having a bar of that. Oh no.

VUWSA decided to propose a motion allowing me sit in on the closing plenary. I just wanted to have a little listen, and to be able to report back to students about the good (or bad) work that VUWSA does at a national level representing students. This meeting is setting the direction for student advocacy in an election year after all (and VUWSA members contribute approximately $7.50 each to the NZUSA affiliation). To their credit, they decided to bury the long standing acrimonious hatchet with Salient, and propose the motion.

The motion was met with hostility by other executives around the country. Ryan Ward, president of OPSA (Otago Polytechnic Students Association) was against the motion, claiming that what is said in closing plenary had to be said in a ‘safe’ area, and he “didn’t want reporters breathing down his neck. Especially not Salient.” I have no idea why he has such a big chip on his shoulder regarding this fine publication. I didn’t even know OPSA existed until this weekend.

The Otago University students association were more measured in their opposition. They supported the idea of student media reporting on student events. However, they felt that the motion had not had sufficient time to be debated. I see his point, but I think its a bit of a cop out. Waikato, and MAWSA (Massey) also voted against, siding with OPSA’s baseless criticism of there being a need for a ‘safe’ area. If this argument had any real weight, the parliamentary press gallery wouldn’t exist. But low and behold, it does. The measure of any argument in a democratic forum should be judged on the strength of its persuasive power and its merits. Bad arguments desire valid criticism. And students need to be informed if their elected representatives are making bad arguments.

ASA (Massey Albany Students Association), and VUWSA all supported the motion. Preferring to believe in transparency and responsible government, over cronyism and the undemocratic stifling of student media.

So here I am, sitting in an empty workroom away from where all the action is taking place, wondering what the fuck is going on. Waiting, like everyone else, for the minutes (minus the debate and discussion) to be collated, authorized, typed up, and sent out. Which by then, no one will remember, or care about. Fucking brilliant.

Full list of votes for and against





UPDATE for those who still care;

The NZUSA constitution seems to be at odds with the actions of NZUSA in this post. It reads:

Attendance and Speaking, Moving and Seconding Rights

(14) Any Honorary Life Member and any member of a Constituent Member may attend a
general meeting.

As a paid up member of VUWSA (I am a student) I am therefore, a member of a constituent member, and should be let in. tsk tsk NZUSA, you really should be on top of your own consitution.


About the Author ()

Conrad is a very grumpy boy. When he was little he had a curl in the middle of his forehead. When he was good, he was moderately good, but when he was mean he was HORRID. He likes guns, bombs and shooting doves. He can often be found reading books about Mussolini and tank warfare. His greatest dream is to invent an eighteen foot high mechanical spider, which has an antimatter lazer attached to its back.

Comments (38)

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  1. Sonny Thomas, Campaigns Officer says:

    I think this is disgraceful behaviour from a governance perspective.

    NZUSA should be open for students to attend, and should they not be able to attend (which vast numbers can’t) then Salient, as an objective media organisation should in all good conscience be there on your behalf.

    As an elected member, and a member of NZUSA I am not at all impressed with the attitude taken by the meeting, particularly Ryan Ward from OPSA, Moira from Waikato Student Association and Co-President Paul Falloon who disgraced the constitution, and effectively cut out transparency.

    It is unlikely, that Student Associations’ who took a sexist and homophobic position will communicate this to their students, which student media could have done. I am happy to out ASA and OPSA as the leading organisations who took disparaging positions against UniQ, and queer students’. I hope students’ of those associations send their execs a clear message and elect new leadership this year.

    If you too feel that this is appalling, feel free to email me –

  2. UPDATE:

    NZUSA have realised they have poorly interpreted thier own constitution. They have rescinded and stated that I may enter the dying moments of the plenary. I have refused for the following reasons.

    a) The media should report the news, not play a large role in making it. OPSA has signalled that if i enter they will remove themselves from the meeting

    b) The vote against, as shown above, indicates a strong resentment to student media becoming involved. By entering at this late stage, i will not provide anything to the debate, and my prescence will only irritate those who have already voiced thier support

    c) I have a plane to catch soon anyhow.

  3. Well it’s not a common thing for me to post on the Salient website; however as students are paying over $100,000 for VUWSA to be members of NZUSA—this obviously does not take into account the opportunity cost that comes from Executive attending these conferences.

    I have been questioning the value of our membership and with the lack of transparency and the elitist attitudes of some members of NZUSA I find myself further questioning their value. Students’ have a right to know what is going on at this conference and they have the right to know what their representatives are up to when representing them.

    When an organisation like NZUSA cannot follow its constitution is there any point in membership? I know I will be debating this for a while but I leave it to you to ponder as well. The minutes of this meeting will be available on the NZUSA website and they paint a clear picture of the opinions of other associations around the country; however this is still a farce in terms of transparency

  4. In Ryan Ward’s defence, I must point out that he is a hottie.

  5. Brad H says:

    “I am happy to out ASA and OPSA as the leading organisations who took disparaging positions against UniQ, and queer students’. I hope students’ of those associations send their execs a clear message and elect new leadership this year.”

    I would like to point out that ASA’s position on the motions were that we should be directed from our membership on campus regarding representation that our members want. We believe strongly in a bottom up approach to representation not a top down one where all students’ associations structures are the same because at the end of the day each campus and each students’ association is different.

    Also it should be noted that a lot of associations abstained on the media coverage motion which was noted in the blog post.

  6. Brad H says:

    I forgot to note as well.

    ASA and its representatives, or members don’t comment on how students at Vic should vote because it would be inappropriate comment. So it is a bit rich a Vic Representative commenting about our representatives.

  7. Seonah says:

    I’m assuming that the Constitution is implying that any member of one of the student associations may attend a general meeting within his or her capacity as a student, at the least, but is there any clarification on whether being a member of a student association is the only requirement in attending the meetings? Because obviously this clause is an ambiguous area in the case of Conrad’s attendance, whereby he is a member but also a student journalist – the latter to whom the meetings are apparently not open to, officially or unofficially.

  8. Conrad Reyners has shown that he has no idea how to be a journalist, that he does not actually know any facts or anything about the different student associations. For a good example, Ryan Ward is the Co-President of Otago Polytechnic Student Association, the other Co-President is a lesbian, I am the other Co-President. The question I would like to put to the idiot who wrote this article is if Ryan is a homophobic person, how the fuck could he work so well and so effectively with me?
    How about you ask some of our executive about how well Ryan and I work together, and also how all of our executive are clued up to the knowledge that they are using student money, as you have seen from the past, it seems that VUWSA has often forgotton that.

    Ryan discussed all the motions with me, and I endorsed how Ryan and the Exec voted. so does that make me homophobic too?

    so just incase you didnt get the message in this post is Conrad get your facts straight before you try and attack anyone on here, cos all you are doing is proving beyond a doubt that you are a true fucking idiot.

  9. Sam says:

    Meegan – I don’t see any reference to OPSA as homophobic in Conrad’s article. Isn’t your real beef with Sonny, given that he was the one who made the accusation in the first comment?

  10. yup Sam, you are right there, and to be honest it, for me it shows how pissed off I am that my co-prez and association were accused of being homophobic. It seems to me that Sonny is the one that is a fucking idiot. I would like to apologise to Conrad for accusing him of this, and for calling him an idiot.

    Just to clarify something, the student on my campus do know that I am a lesbian, and they dont have any issues with it, we do represent our students effectively and give them all the information about motions and conferences, and about what way we voted, also why.

    Again I am sorry Conrad for pointing that post towards you, however the intention is the same but for Sonny

  11. Karl Marx says:

    Learn to read you stupid bitch.

  12. thank you Karl for your comment, LOL

  13. Karl Marx says:

    Well you obviously cant comprehend English. This is probably why you attend a polytechnic. You troglodyte.

  14. ROFLMFAO again thank you Karl, your comments are very amusing, please do continue, no doubt there will be many that read it and get a good laugh at your expense. I know they will think that I am a moron for getting it wrong, but ya know what, I have the ability to recognise that I have made an error and have publicly apologised for that error.

    whether you realise it or not all you are showing is your pettiness by trying (and extremely unsuccesfully mind you) to insult me, however go for it if thats what you feel you need to do to show that you are a man (ahem)

    oh BTW I have been to University thank you, and Teachers College, and am finishing a post grad cert at Poly, am just wondering what are you trying to imply by that comment? or are you angry at the ITP system because you were turned down as they recognised your inability to intergrate into normal society?

    oh oops…that was a lil insulting wasn’t it…..oh well…..

  15. Karl Marx says:

    I started an ideological revolution, and helped provide the foundations for Russia’s greatest hour.

    What the fuck have you done.

  16. at least used my real name, as you seem to be too scared to do.

  17. Karl Marx says:

    I am using my real name… and…

    I started an ideological revolution, and helped provide the foundations for Russia’s greatest hour.

    What the fuck have you done…

    I repeat, what the fuck have you done.

    Except be co-president of an organisation that probably has a smaller budget (and less influence) then this very website.

  18. ROFLMFAO there we go again, again thank you for the good laugh at your expense.

    when you are able to get over your fear and start using your real identity, not a stolen one, I will have a conversation with you, until then……good luck matey at learning how to get your own life.

    btw, OPSA is influentual, ask your beloved president. and we may have a smaller budget than VUWSA, but at least we dont waste our students money on things like vans and psychics, we know how to be accountable to our student, and how to act responsibly when at events and conferences.

    since you are afraid to speak your own voice, I guess this is the end of this conversation.

  19. Woah, woah, everyone. Thread comments back on track please.

    Meegan – I accept your apology, any concerns please refer them to Sonny. He’s left his email above.

    Although, from what i’ve heard (from the plenary session i was barred from entering) OPSA did oppose nearly all of the UniQ motions. Can you please comment on this? Furthermore, can you please give your perspective on OPSA’s threat to walk out of the plenary session if I came and attended, even AFTER it was deemed constitutional for me to be there? I think students at Victoria AND Otago polytechnic, would be interested to know why OPSA is refusing to adhere to the constitution of an organisation it has signed up too.

  20. System Admin says:

    Hi Conrad,

    When posting hatefilled comments under a pseudonym, please do not do so from an internal IP address that links back to

    Thank you.

  21. Eeek Meegan, be careful what you write.. It might bite you in the botty later..

  22. Baxter says:

    Hi, I work for both OPSA and for Gyro student magazine; wearing my OPSA hat I’d say the following. And wearing my Gyro hat it would be much the same:

    Firstly, keep in perspective that the rest of the conference is generally open to media, and that all motions (and I think minutes) from the closed plenary are indeed open to media. This means the process and end decision are open, if not the full debate.

    While closing the final plenary to media does seem a bit secret squirrel, it is closed to allow full and uncensored debate. This might seem unfair to media, but it is a necessary part of making reasonably informed decisions.

    For example, say the fictional VPWSA proposed donating $300 to a Christian save-the-kiddies project – but the equally fictional QUSA knew the leader of the project was a pedophile, and was wasting the project’s money on pedicures.

    QUSA can’t say this openly (because student representatives don’t have parliamentary privilege like MPs do), but in closing plenary they can say “Whooa, here’s what we know…” without the fear of being sued. And thus more fully informed decision is made.

    How responsible would it be for NZUSA to make a decision without open and honest debate?

    Indeed almost all committees have media exclusion processes to allow full and open debate. I assume VUWSA goes into ‘committee’ when it talks about a specific employee’s details, commercially sensitive plans, etc?

    Lastly, giving motions adequate notice is part of making an informed decision. Without adequate notice, all sorts of rubbish could get proposed from the floor and voted on without the facts being known. How responsible would it be for NZUSA to make a decision without adequate debate?

    As long as the process and end decision is open, NZUSA’s closing plenaries are not a secret conspiracy or a cop-out. Indeed the article’s author would probably (and rightly so) be the first to accuse NZUSA of not making adequate decisions when it donated cash to a pedicure loving pedophile that it could easily have avoided…

  23. Well im just absolutley wrapped that my comments sparked such huge debate in this forum.

    Just to clarify, when the motion was tabled for Conrad to be present in the closing plenary, it was made for him being student media. The consitutional side of this with him being a student of an NZUSA member was bought up well in to the plenary by Alexander neilson (cheers to him), all associations had no grounds to refuse entry to conrad, including my own.

    And a big thanks to shit kicker mgee for his/her comment. either way i do love being called a “bit of a hottie”.

    Now i have no problem admitting that i most likley am a sexist racist homophobic, or all of the implied comments, infact i find it rather amusing as a student rep who last year worked as the Vice President to a pacific Islander and this year works rather well with a lesbian. In fact i find it hilarious.

    Now on to my association thretaning to leave.
    Indeed Salient is known for the ability to completly ignore all rational thought in its publication, thus leading me to say that my associations comments were not going to be taken in context nor be said in a the apparent ‘safe space’ that the plenary is ment to be.

    Its very obvious to me that my judgments were and are still well founded. otherwise the nitty gritty of our conference would not be posted on this blog, gee maybe i was right!!

    the only people that discrced this meeting were by far certain members of the VUWSA executive. whose comments and Ignorance towards issues other than their own have pratically taken the right to speak on any topic without fear of personal critism away from every delegate present.

    Hope you guys are happy

    BTW if indeed shit kicker mgee is a female, my cell number is on the OPSA website.
    xox txt me

  24. Ryan:

    a) I had attended the whole conference, including various workshops from where motions were created. It is highly unlikely that I would be taking things ‘out of context’. Any suggestion otherwise is a personal slur borne out of autocratic fear, rather than this ‘rational’ thought you so highly speak of.

    b) the only way I would be reporting on things that were NOT in context, is if I was barred from attending the closing plenary, and therefore had to go off second hand information. Your opposition created the very ‘confusion’ you were afraid of.

    c) Why are you afraid of criticism when you speak on behalf of students? If you are talking shit, then your constituents, and the wider student body deserve to know.

  25. Shitkicker McGee says:

    Ryan: We’ve met before, you came across as a real dick (albeit a hot one) so thanks but no thanks!

  26. Brad H says:

    Oh, and for the record.

    There were 8 motions relating to queer issues.

    ASA voted for two motions, against two, and abstained from four.

  27. Griffin says:

    Ooh, seems like the System Admin has discovered that Conrad’s knight in shining armour ‘Karl Marx’ is…. actually a cowardly pseudoymn that he uses himself. Like the one I’m using now.reading back through his ‘articles’…. hahahaha

  28. Karl Marx is not me. Any idiot can put my details into the website and email field. System Admin is also lying, the only people who have admin accounts to this website are Tristan and Jackson, and me. And System Admin’s IP doesnt match theirs.

  29. Machete says:

    Lol, Karl Marx is not Conrad. I know who it is offline, and trust me, there is no love lost there…

  30. Reverend Paul Danger Brown says:

    Well VUWSA has a reputation of in the past behaving very poorly when away on NZUSA conferences Ryan, and I was most impressed with the behavior of our executive this conference. There was an incredible amount of disregard shown for the rules of our accommodation and our delegates were having to handle complaints about other associations.

    I’m also going to disagree with you t referring to our delegates’ comments as ignorant towards issues. I believe our delegates spoke passionately about issues and causes they have actively been involved in on a national level during their years at Victoria University. Many of the have taken Majors at Victoria University studying these particular issues as well and I’m surprised they managed to stay so calm at times. I myself was particularly disappointed by the response to motions put forward by UniQ— with my sexual orientation aside— these motions had come from students who were asking for support from associations around the country and they were treated illogically by some of the organisations they seek assistance from. Take the motion to investigate the hosting and maintenance of the national UniQ website. Jordan Williams is paid to do exactly this sort of thing and it would require a minimal amount of effort at the cost of Jordan’s time, time which these UniQ students’ are paying for yet many associations voted against it. I guess these students’ only need look at the minutes to see who truly supports them.

  31. Michael Oliver says:

    Salient is known for the ability to completly ignore all rational thought in its publication

    We’ve made an executive decision to limit this to the sports column for the rest of the year. Be on the look out for my thought-provoking piece, “Inside the Six-Hour-Long Orgasm of Sophie That Slapper Who Fucked English Winger David Strettle” including a microchip embedded within the spine that plays what will most likely be me – faux female accent and all – moaning orgasmically.

    Also, this thread is utter garbage and I’m embarrassed for nearly everyone.

  32. Naly D says:

    2 things.
    A. I am mightily impressed that a VUWSA executive felt it was more appropriate to write comments on this blog than spend time in closing plenary.

    B. I didn’t know you were a journalist until closing plenary Conrad and had this been bought up earlier I certainly would have objected to you participating in workshops I was in.

  33. I second what Mr Oliver said. Except for the part about limiting ignorance to the sports column, since a reckless disregard for public health is an important part of our agenda. That is, the promotion of energy drinks for the sake of our wallets. Moo moo meow meow woof woof tasers.

  34. Mr Magoo says:

    I think Conrad has the role of the journalist confused. He says he shouldn’t have to make the news – when that’s exactly what he set out to do. These blogs are entirely about him, and nothing to do with NZUSA. He may as well have gone to Otaki and blogged about all the fun he had there.

    He also appears to have confused his capacity as media and as a student, in believing he should have been allowed into closing plenary.

    NZUSA doesn’t do anything anyway, so he wouldn’t have missed much.

  35. Gibbon says:

    It is clear that NZUSA is not worth it for VUW students.
    How do we convince the Exec to stop us having to support NZUSA?

  36. Mr Smagoo says:

    Well from from I’ve heard from exec members on campus Magoo, there doesn’t appear to be any restrictions in the constitution to stop media going anyway…

    Although Conrad’s take is an inherently personal one, thats to be expected. Its a blog. And I think he did a fine job bringing these issues to light.

  37. JC says:

    Yet again we have the typical Salient haters come out of the wood work and knock the media. Mr Magoo, why don’t you just piss off.

    This is such a pathetic thread, people need to get a life, especially Meegan (what stupid spelling of that name).

  38. Mr Magoo says:

    Mr Smagoo – are we related?

    BTW JC – I’ve written for Salient in the past, I know how it works, and I certainly don’t hate the magazine, just self-indulgent drivel.

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