Stu­dents feel let down

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By ES­THER LAUAKI

Mem­bers of the be­lea­guered Whi­tireia In­de­pen­dent Stu­dent As­so­ci­a­tion (WISA) feel aban­doned and an­gered by the sud­den res­ig­na­tion of act­ing pres­i­dent Tim Manu.

Mr Manu, then a Porirua City councillor and part-time stu­dent, stepped into the po­si­tion in Au­gust, pledg­ing re­form and sta­bil­ity af­ter the as­so­ci­a­tion was rocked by al­le­ga­tions that the for­mer stu­dent pres­i­dent and vice-pres­i­dent were in­volved in a $750,000 spend­ing scan­dal now be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the po­lice. He re­signed two weeks ago. As­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber Max Les­nak emailed the Kapi-Mana News, in­censed by Mr Manu’s de­par­ture.

‘‘Word around cam­pus is that he did noth­ing but use the WISA sit­u­a­tion as po­lit­i­cal lever­age for his cam­paign,’’ he wrote.

‘‘Tim has been all about the words and has done noth­ing, and is tak­ing the credit for those hard work­ers who have ac­tu­ally tried to clean up the rep­u­ta­tion and who are ac­tu­ally there for the ben­e­fit of the stu­dents.’’

Mr Manu said last week he had over-com­mit­ted him­self and wanted to con­cen­trate on the lo­cal body elec­tions. He de­nied tak­ing on the role to raise his pub­lic pro­file.

‘‘I felt like I had a gun to my head and was given an ul­ti­ma­tum, stu­dent pres­i­dent or councillor.

‘‘I still have a job to do for my com­mu­nity. If I com­pro­mised my elec­toral cam­paign for the stu­dent as­so­ci­a­tion, it would have been a step back­ward for me in my ca­reer.’’

WISA’s of­fice man­ager Maddy Pe­se­fea has fronted up to dis­grun­tled stu­dents for months. She said some felt let down by Mr Manu.

‘‘[The new ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers] are the ones do­ing all the hard work. Whether [Mr Manu] had fin­ished what he’d come here to do, that could be de­bated.’’

Mr Manu, who was not re-elected to the coun­cil, said he had not ‘‘aban­doned’’ the as­so­ci­a­tion and would as­sist in a ‘‘dif­fer­ent ca­pac­ity as a lob­by­ist’’.

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