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September 15, 2008 | by  | in News | [ssba]

On the Vuwsa Election Campaign Trail with Smurfette

A week out from the closing date of nominations for the VUWSA general elections, rumours are abuzz around the Student Union Building over the possible nominees.

Current Campaigns Officer Sonny Thomas is thus far the only known nominee for the Association’s presidency. A Facebook group, ‘Sonny Thomas for Victoria University Students’ Association President’ was established several weeks previously, and at the time of writing, boasts over 150 members.

Concerns have been raised about Thomas’ intended agenda as President, with allegations that the Change Proposal, under which three full-time members are set to lose their jobs, was largely spearheaded by the Young Labourite. One anonymous source observed that Thomas appeared to be using the VUWSA presidency as a stepping stone to Parliament.

As part of his campaign, Thomas pledges to “change the way VUWSA is structured and put a greater focus on education issues.”

He also expresses a desire to increase the diversity of student activities, “consolidate and streamline” club grants funding and “increase funding for representative groups.”

While Thomas faces no official competition, DebSoc member Ihaia Tichborne has announced plans to run once his ‘Tichborne for President’ Facebook group reaches 300 members. At present, membership is at 171 – the majority of which, according to comments on the Salient website, are not Victoria University students and thus ineligible to vote in the elections.

Tichborne reveals little of his specific policies on his page, which has been created by an individual named Ben Moore, a member of the self-proclaimed Committee to Elect Tichborne. However, it reads: “You should be able to trust an elected official, not just to follow through on policies, but to make right, responsible decisions when faced with them. We believe that VUWSA will be best served with Ihaia making these decisions.”

A third and less prominent potential candidate for the presidency is Bernard Stewart, a “professional amateur comedian” who bears a convincing resemblance to incumbent Joel Cosgrove. Little is known about Stewart beyond his apparent fondness for alcohol (and Led Zep), but Salient is aware that he is a close acquaintance of Education Vice-President Paul Brown.

Among the candidates for the other positions, a somewhat disconcerting Young Labour bloc has emerged, with current Education Officer B Seamus Brady running for the role of Welfare Vice-President, as well as current Publications Committee member Jordan King for University Council Representative and Salient political writer Conrad Reyners – all Young Labourites – in addition to Thomas.

This bloc bears a striking similarity to last year’s controversial A-Team, who were accused of a right-wing conspiracy.

It remains to be seen whether the Young Labourites will be the recipients of an overwhelming defeat like that dealt to the ATeam.


About the Author ()

Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

Comments (23)

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  1. Jordan King says:

    Right wing conspiracy rolf! Pull the other one Tristan lolol

  2. Great says:

    Right-WING is the biggest asshole, lol

  3. Sonny Thomas says:

    Hahahaha – what a joke. Let the conspiracy theories die Tristan, they’re just sad.

  4. Mr Right Wing Conspiracy says:

    Hey, ah, Sonny and Jordan, you do realise Smurfette said the A-Team were “accused of a right-wing conspiracy” by their enemies at the time, not “I accuse you of being a right-wing conspiracy.” So… y’know… you might want to actually read the post before complaining about nothing.

  5. Smurfette says:

    I don’t know what part of this piece can be considered a “conspiracy theory” – is it not an indisputable fact that Brady, King, Reyners and Thomas are all members of Young Labour?

  6. Smurfette says:

    This wouldn’t be the first time that Young Labourites have complained about nothing…

  7. Papa Smurf says:

    I would also like to point out that under the VUWSA constitution all candidates must declare their political affiliations.

  8. Kang and Kodos says:

    I hear that there is a plucky young outsider from Wanganui currently considering a tilt at the presidency – watch this space.

  9. tired says:

    But the author does compare the young labour bloc to the A-Team, which would be pretty funny if it wasn’t so stupid.

    So Jordan, Sonny and the rest of the labourties kinda do have a right to complain, especially over journalism this poor.

  10. spritly says:

    “I hear that there is a plucky young outsider from Wanganui currently considering a tilt at the presidency – watch this space.”

    Peter McCafferey?

  11. “a plucky young outsider from Wanganui”

    Robbie Neilson? Clothing optional campus!

  12. Papa Smurf says:

    Why is it a bad comparison? The Young Labourites are all ideologically similar and they all belong to the same party… much like the A-Team. I guess the righties are just more honest than the YL people.

    It isn’t poor journalism. It is merely pointing out facts that many people do not know because the candidates are not declaring their political affiliations like they should be doing under S.5 of the VUWSA constitution.

    Notice how they’re quick to deny something when they were accused of nothing. It makes you think…

    If I was a young Nat, or ACT supporter I would seriously be thinking about tapping into the discourse of ‘change’.
    Joel Cosgrove = Workers Party
    Geoff Hayward = Labour Party
    Nick Kelly = Workers Party after a dose of Labour Party
    Jeremy Greenbrook = Labour Party

  13. Jackson Wood says:

    “a plucky young outsider from Wanganui”

    Michael Laws?

  14. “Notice how they’re quick to deny something when they were accused of nothing. It makes you think…”

    Well thats not very fair, its pretty strongly implied (without justification) that Young Labour is running a ticket campaign like the A-Team did. I can say now, on the record, thats not true. Yes, I am a member of Young Labour, but thats because I believe in core Labour values of equality, equity, and social justice. Big whoop. If people don’t like me because of that, fine. Dont vote for me. But its hardly a ’scandal’.

    Id also point out that Young Labour are independent of the main party. We don’t always tow the parliamentary party line, and there is a diverse range of opinions on many political issues. I don’t always agree with what the Labour party has done, and sometimes have even criticized them in print. (see this article –

    Furthermore Papa Smurf, you might remember the stink the A-Teamers kicked up when they were accused of all being ACT hacks. They weren’t, they were National and ACT hacks. So, you’d be wrong on that one.

    C’mon Salient, I know we can do better than this.

  15. Haimona Gray says:

    And the circle jerk continues, please explain to me why we should have any confidence in anyone trawling the blogs when they should be doing there jobs (unless “September 15th, 2008 at 2:31 pm” and “September 15th, 2008 at 10:48 am” are wrong in which case I take it back, but if i’m not then please explain why i’m paying VUWSA and by-proxy NZUSA anything when you are pissing your time away like this).

    Back to real work lads

  16. Zubrowka says:

    Uh… what? Its fairly obvious that they are all Young Labourites. None of them seem to be hiding/denying this. However, unlike the A Team, they arent running as a team, but as individuals. They seem have a fair amount of experience and credentials among them, which to me, matters more than their political leanings.

    Oh Salient. You so sensationalist.

  17. hungry says:

    Looks like 1984 all over again!

    Labour can come in and make VUWSA more “efficient”!
    Eg. “scale down” orientation; stick to “its core business” (give control of clubs away); develop “the Salient ‘business’ with regard to advertising” (privatization?); and make redundant (“disestablish”) most of the current employees!

    Read the change proposal!

  18. Chris says:

    ‘One anonymous source observed that Thomas appeared to be using the VUWSA presidency as a stepping stone to Parliament.”

    –> Is that just you making shit up?

  19. Chris says:

    “This bloc bears a striking similarity to last year’s controversial A-Team, who were accused of a right-wing conspiracy.”

    –> This is also total bollocls Tristan. How the fuck does a group of Young Labour people, who as far as I know aren’t campaigning together and don’t intend to (and you provide no evidence that they are) similar to the pro VSM right-wing ticket of the A-Team? About the only thing they (allegedly) have in common is that they’re VUWSA tragics interested in student politics. That’s about it.

  20. It’d be nice to have some members of VUWSA – tragics or not – take an interest in student politics for once.

  21. aaron says:

    But this clearly wasn’t written by Tristan. if you compare it to the rest of his writing you can tell. you are n00b

  22. Shitkicker McGee says:

    Can I write a story about VUWSA too pleeeeease

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