Funding improves for Witsa

By Gary Hamilton-Irvine

The future of the student association at Waiariki Institute of Technology is looking brighter, with funding for 2013 nearly in place.

In November, the student association (Witsa) lost most of its funding as a result of under-performance. It relies on institute funding to provide services such as advocacy, buddy programmes and orientation activities.

It has since been working with the national union - New Zealand United Student Association - and Waiariki to sort out a new contract for this year.

Waiariki support services director Richard Bird said he expected a new contract to be in place prior to the start of semester 1, on March 11.

Witsa president Tony Te Huia said last year that one of the problems in losing their contract with Waiariki was a lack of funds.

Mr Te Huia said they had asked for more in the new contract.

"Based on that [figure] I don't think we will have any trouble matching their expectations."

Witsa's financial troubles started early last year after the Education Amendment Act made joining student associations across New Zealand optional for students.

This meant students no longer had to pay a compulsory fee to student associations.

As a result, Witsa had only 130 paying members last year out of the entire student body.

Mr Te Huia said in 2013 they would not be continuing with the optional $40 membership and would simply offer all services to any student at Waiariki.

Mr Te Huia will be travelling to Christchurch to learn more about how student associations at Lincoln University and Christchurch Polytech are faring under similar circumstances.

He said planning was already under way for O-Week activities in March.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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