Kia ora everyone and welcome to what I’m sure is going to be a fantastic semester at the University of Auckland!
It’s already been a busy start to the year, and especially so in Auckland. I know things have been hard with the recent severe weather, and I hope you’ve all managed to stay safe and look after each other through this time.
As classes get underway again for 2023, I wanted to briefly introduce myself, and wish you all the best for your studies.
It’s been an incredible privilege to become the Prime Minister of Aotearoa New Zealand and, along with the rest of the Labour team here in Government, I’m focused on doing all I can to make life easier for Kiwis – including students.
It’s been a few years now since I was at university, where I served as president of Victoria University’s Students’ Association, but I remember how much of a struggle it can be trying to juggle studies, part time work and social commitments. Much of my time at university was spent advocating for students, and it’s something I’ve continued into my working life and my job here in the Beehive.
Right now, I know things are particularly tough for many people. The cost of living is one of the biggest pressures students are facing, and I want to ensure you can focus on your education, without stressing about power bills or the price of groceries. Easing the cost pressures on New Zealanders is our Government’s number one priority, and we’re doing what we can to help.
I know many of you will have jobs alongside your studies, and you might be earning the minimum wage. To help ease the pressure, we’ve just announced an increase to the minimum wage in line with inflation, so you can expect a little more in your pay check from April.
Getting to class and to work can be another big strain on finances, especially if you don’t live on campus. To make getting around more affordable, we’ve extended the fuel tax cut, road user charges discount and half price public transport until 30 June. Hopefully this will also help to make life a bit easier this semester.
These measures are just a start, and I’m committed to continuing to support students and tackle those big issues like the cost of living. We’ll have plenty more to say on this in the coming weeks and months, but I’m always keen to hear from you about the challenges you’re facing, and the changes you want to see in your community. If you’d like to share your ideas, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on social media.
For me, there’s no doubt that my student years were some of my favourites. There’s nothing like that mixture of excitement, anticipation, and nerves that comes with the start of each university year – particularly so as a first time student.
As you get stuck into this year, I’d encourage you to take every opportunity that comes your way, work hard, take the time to enjoy yourself – and of course enrol to vote in this year’s election! On our side, we’ll keep doing everything we can to make things a little easier, so you can focus on the important stuff.