Student Protestors Interrupt John Key at Medical School openingPublish By NZweek News Staff Updated 04/07/2012 5:45 am in NZ News / no comments
Media Release – 4 July 2012 – For Immediate Use
A group of students has interrupted a speech from Prime Minister John Key as he opened the new Medical and Health Sciences complex at the University of Auckland yesterday.The students from protest group Blockade the Budget stood in the wind and rain chanting ‘We’re cold, we’re wet, we’re drowning is student debt!’ – One protestor was able to make her way into the ceremony to address Key directly.
The protest was one of a series of demonstrations against the National Government’s recent Budget cuts. The Student allowances will no longer be available for post-graduate study, and access will be limited to 200 weeks for longer courses, including many of the degrees on offer at the Medical School. Commenting at the protest, post-graduate student Wednesday Jones said ‘Isn’t it ironic that millions of dollars were spent on revamping the Medical School while thanks to his shortsighted, selfish and detrimental budget, the school will only ever be accessed by students from wealthy backgrounds.’
Health Sciences student Mark Nelson added ‘There is always money for new buildings or public relations campaigns, but nothing to support students from less privileged backgrounds. We should be able to celebrate these facilities as a benefit for everyone, but we know that the business approach to education means that this is an elite facility that will be out of reach for most of us’
When asked about the protest action, Blockade the Budget replied with ‘It’s only a few weeks since 43 students were abused and arrested by police for protesting against the arrogance of this Government, now we have John Key up here cutting ribbons and acting like a great benefactor. We want people to know the truth, the National Government is destroying education.’
Students are planning a large public demonstration called ‘Show and Tell’ for the 21st of July. The issues that the group will be protesting against include $400 Million in cuts to early childhood education, the National Standards program, performance based pay for teachers, charter schools and education as a business, $13 Billion worth of Student Debt, cuts to the student allowance scheme and arts funding, the 7th highest tertiary fees in the world and 15% of tertiary students living in absolute financial distress.
Anyone interested in joining the rally against education cuts are encouraged to meet at 1pm on Saturday 21st July at Britomart, Auckland CBD.