Blog # 31 Dear Fellow six candidates and student voters for the University of Canterbury Council Student Representative
Tomorrow and Friday you get to vote for one of the 7 candidates and please get out and vote.
As candidates we attended a briefing meeting at 1600 hours on Monday afternoon and were verbally briefed by the U C Registrar doubly acting as the Returning Officer of the election and minutes were taken by a lady Joanne X in a little yellow booklet about A5 size.
These minutes formed the most revealing part of the rules such as they are. Immediately after the meeting a request for the copy of these minutes was made under the Official Information Act and was refused. This was witnessed. Yesterday a formal hand delivered request for a copy of the election briefing minutes was delivered to the sixth floor reception of the Matariki Building. Stapled to this one page request was a stamped addressed envelope. At time of writing the minutes are not with me. There is no good reason for this information to be withheld. I call it Institutionalised Discrimination
Therefore in their appalling absence I advise from the minutes I took a number of points stand out.
1 The position for the successful candidate on Council will be controlled by an employment contract with the University. One candidate will already have an employment contract with the University Of Canterbury Students Association The candidate is named James Addington whom you just, in error, voted in. He already receives a sum of money from his current position on the current U C S A Executive. The additional salary on Council will be at least $20,000. (what the Returning Officer Field stated is contrary to all the documents previously produced to all of the students including those who have “opted out” of belonging to U C S A which is around 1800.) To this must be added the $48,000 candidate Addington will receive from the UCSA. Plus it was announced that the current President “Two pay packets” Sarah Platt will be retained for an uncertain period of time. This will mean another vehicle needing to be purchased by the UCSA for candidate Addington. This shows that when and if in the unlikely event successful, candidate Addington when going to each and every meeting of the council will have to announce he has a “conflict of interest” at the outset. This is an existing practice of the Council. Then when he speaks he will have to tell in advance from which of his two employers is he representing at the time he speaks. Will he be speaking for the over 10,000 student or for the greatly reduced University Council of 12 persons? If you vote for someone who has to declare a “conflict of interest” every time he speaks you have failed to understand how appalling this really is. Try “Uncle Google” for “conflict of interest” (Lawsoc are challenged to express their viewpoint on the term “conflict of interest”). Even the same will apply when he speaks to any student on campus. Example student approaches the candidate Addington with an issue he or she wishes considered and then when a reply comes out of the mouth of candidate Addington the student will have to seek clarification as to which of his two employment contracts he is speaking from. It is farcical. However our current UCSA President Ms Sarah Platt receives two pay packets as does our Chancellor Woods whom sits on another local University board as well. Lincoln. More examples of conflicts of interest. Chancellor Woods has been in receipt of this expression of concern about his conflict of interest but is to elitist even to deny it. When no denial of this situation is received the real danger is that it may have an untoward effect on the reputation on both of the Universities both here and abroad. The University of Lincoln is well known for political bias which in real terms is political discrimination. I can confirm that in the run up to the last General Election they held a public meeting and invited Nationals candidate Amy Adams and now your current Minister of Justice and M P for Selwyn but not the known and registered candidates for the N Z Labour Party (yours truly) nor the Green Party nor the N Z First Party. That says it all.
2 The Returning Officer Jeffery Field announced at the briefing meeting in front of all seven candidates that a complaint (he omitted to say a formal one) had be received about one of the candidates and advised he had a small look at social media and would do nothing about it. Neither Mr Field nor Joanne actually got off their chairs and went and had a look on campus. More importantly Mr Field failed to actually ask the subject of the complaint candidate Addington to explain himself. Candidate Addington sat about 900 millimetres away. Bone lazy public servant. I have seen a copy of this complaint and it did concern the current UCSA member and candidate Addington whom was already advertising for votes well in advance of nominations even closing. By allowing this to become acceptable and continuing to be acceptable for one candidate and not all of the candidates the Returning Officer Field has shown bias and giving this is a political election has shown himself to be guilty of political discrimination and has by his own actions endorsed candidate Addington. This is appalling behaviour by a public servant with an employment contract which is already under scrutiny. Our current President Sarah “two pay packets” Platt was present when this investigation into the employment matter involving the Registrar and as well the Returning Officer was discussed at full Council level but refuses to tell the 10,000 students about this and therefore is withholding vital information as to the suitability of otherwise for the Registrar to also attempt to act in a fit and proper manner as the Returning Officer. We don’t even know if an accurate roll of eligible voters exists. In the normal course of events any student could write to the Council on such serious matters but no not at U C. This has been formally confirmed to me by Vice Chancellor Roderick Carr
3 There is considerable correspondence between a student and a candidate with the Minister of Tertiary Education Hon Stephen Joyce but due to a convention I cannot discuss much of it as although I have asked formally for this convention to be waived he has failed to do so. He has replied but failed to address my request to be allowed to debate the contents with the voters. How undemocratic is that? All it would have taken is an “ok by me “and we would be right amongst the debate. “What I can say”, to use the oft opening words of the Prime Minister John Key is that this correspondence goes to the very heart of the reason you are here at U C, the degree and how it will be viewed in the future by employers. In my view bribery is involved.
4 Looking at the timing of this election Nominations closed Monday night, “the Cheetah” like candidate is already advertising and therefore votes ahead at nomination closing time. We have two days to campaign, The minutes of the rules meeting are withheld, then voting is over by Friday night Trust UCSA are putting on another piss up like last time All welcome and the last one was great and was in the Undercroft room where you get the “two pinga” rice. Back to the haste of this 4 day election and I refer to a document prised from the hand of the Chancellor John “Two pay packets” Woods “CNZM,QSO,BA,MA Hons,(Cant),BA(Oxf), LittD (2018)”under the terms of the Official Information Act and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (yes this University does not even now which Acts of Parliament it is bound by but Minister Joyce has been asked formally to amend the legislation on this foolish situation) Note this letter is dated “24 June 2015” and it is addressed to ‘’The President University of Canterbury Students Association” “Dear Sarah” Therefore the University knew they needed to hold this election from the date the Amendment was Gazetted which was “11 June 2015” There was never any need to abuse the democratic process like this. Chancellor Woods goes further and states that “On behalf of Council, I would request that UCSA take all steps necessary to ensure that the election of a student representative for Council can be managed in conjunction with the UCSA elections. Again further evidence displaying the current anti-democratic haste. Two days to campaign, make signs, put signs up, take them down, is a joke. Unless of course you are already advertising and have lots of idle signs
The Registrar and Returning Officer advised he would not be providing any forums for debate to take place The main obstacle apart from the obvious lack of good governance by the University Council and basic planning being “Security”.
5 Recently I asked the N Z Student Association to come to campus and allow them to approach the 10,000 students to offer them the option of joining the nationwide body and was advised that UCSA don’t respond to attempts to meet with them. It came as no surprise that in the room next door to our briefing room a meeting took place between the very same parties at the very same time.
6 Thanks to the gent who asked about how student opinions would be represented. Simplest way is to meet fortnightly with students, I enjoy talkback radio (which our on campus radio station has declined us candidates air time for this election formally), record their concerns formally have them included as items on the agenda of Council for the meeting, have staff prepare papers on the item, encourage you to attend, invite you to address council should you wish, record which councillors voted which way to enable you to lobby them for change and report back to all students promptly. I have chaired the inaugural Bay of Plenty Conservation Board and it works fine and the delicate matter of the Treaty of Waitangi was involved too.
7 ICE’s Travis is in my ear about U C S A President two pay packets Ms Sarah Platt endorsing “the Cheetah” like Candidate Addington whom I note with dismay is failing to enter the debate proffered to him on my blog. How is that different from political cowardice I ask you? Peas of a pod. Like minds think alike. It is something when the Minister Joyce finally replies to my letter we will all know more about. But Steven can take up to five months to reply. Personally I would not have done what she has. Poor form. I also see she misrepresents the extent of the correspondence that exist regarding her sanctioning by Returning Officer R Divett and suggest she asks him to open his “IN BOX” again. Her actions are all on CCTV also. Our President has also utilised the full data list of student names for this act of endorsement. Given what is written above all candidates should have access to reply to all UCSA voters as well. It’s called the “right of reply” Don’t exist here.
8 The Returning Officer is not returning candidates calls
If you want open and honest representation then the above should show you to vote for me please.
If you want to look at your degree with certainty then Vote Gordon Dickson
Gordon J Dickson Candidate 30/9/2015 E. & O. E.