The Southland Times followed up the Electoral Commission’s strategy to encourage young people to enrol by visiting the Southland Institute of Technology.
One of the interviewees was SIT student representative Erica Donovan who said:
A universal student allowance is one policy on her list, but she also has an eye on policies that will affect her and her friends who aren’t studying, once she graduates.
“We talk about poverty in Africa, but there’s poverty here in Invercargill. There’s people that really need money from the Government,” she says.
That reminded me of this story which arrived in an email from a friend:
A young woman was about to finish her first year at university. She considered herself to be a Labour supporter and very liberal. Among her liberal ideals was support for higher taxes to support more government programmes, in other words redistribution of wealth.
She was deeply ashamed of her father who was a staunch National Party member.
The lectures she attended and the occasional chat with a professor convinced her that her father had for years, harboured an evil selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.
One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes for the rich and the need for more government programmes. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing at university.
She answered rather haughtily that she had passes in four subjects, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn’t even have time for a boyfriend, and didn’t really have many varsity friends because she spent all her time studying.
Her father listened and then asked, ‘How is your friend Clarrisa doing?’
She replied, ‘Clarrisa is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies and she has only two passes. But she is ever so popular on campus; varsity for her is a blast. She’s always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn’t even show up for classes because she’s too hung over.’
Her wise father asked his daughter, ‘Why don’t you go to the Chancellor’s office and ask him to deduct a pass off you and give it to your friend who only has two passes. That way you will both have three passes and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of passes’.
The daughter, visibly shocked by her father’s suggestion, angrily fired back, ‘That’s a crazy idea, and how would that be fair! I’ve worked really hard for my grades! I’ve invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Clarrisa has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my butt off!’
The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, ‘Welcome to the National Party.’