Monday, January 31, 2005

I'm Getting Old

It's official - I'm moving to the suburbs.

Exec Meeting 2

After a fairly full on week at NZUSA conference last week, I was relieved that we only had a short exec meeting tonight.

Nothing of any great excitement tonight:
  • Jill Wainwright (Wellington Regional Manager of Student Job Search) spoke to the exec about what SJS does - I mean, in slightly more detail than "We get students jobs". This is a really good service that is partially funded by the student association. Over the summer period (to date) there were more than 4000 placements in the Wellington Region (which includes Nelson and Blenheim), earning over $4 million for students (up $1 million on the same period last year).
  • There was some talk of the relationship between VUWSA and the Association of University Staff, after what some exec members felt was a little bit of a shafting last year over fee setting (especially after VUWSA had pledged their support for the staff in their pay negociations). It was resolved that I would write a letter to AUS Victoria asking for an indication of support during the 2005 fee setting process.

Other than that, it was pretty much the normal.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

LAPD Christmas

ODT Debut

I made my first appearance (well, quote) in the Otago Daily Times on Wednesday. Not quite as good as the half-naked picture of OUSA President Steven Sutton which accompanied the print version of this article in the Sunday Star Times this morning. What's with the cheeky grin, Steve?

Emeritus Professor Frank Evison

On Tuesday night, Geophysics Emeritus Professor Frank Evison died at home after a short illness.

Although I never had Professor Evison as a lecturer (in fact, my transport geography study is the chalk to his geophysics cheese), the close-knit community that is the VUW School of Earth Sciences meant that I had numerous discussions with him in passing, or in the school's staff and graduate lunch room. He always showed a keen interest in my study and research, and is a great loss for the Victoria University Community.

His funeral is tomorrow (Monday) 2:30pm at Old St Pauls, Thorndon. I will be attending, both as Student President, and in a personal capacity.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Room Available

Kelburn, double room, $116 p/w (ex expenses).

Warm, double room available in Kelburn flat with three early 20’s guys. Wooden floors, large windows (gets morning sun), 2 wardrobes.
2 minutes to university, 5 minutes to Kelburn shops, 1 minute to cable car. D
eck and backyard good for socialising.
Would suit postgrad student.
Available from Saturday 1 Feb.

Contact Chris on 021 173 7826 or 475 7671 for further details.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Greenbrook 1, Mallard 0

As many of you may be aware, I made my first television appearance on Wednesday night. I was sitting in Wellington Airport enjoying a pint of beer when it was broadcast (my cell phone went nuts for half an hour), but my parents taped it, and I have since watched it several times (over and over again).

The piece was rather shallow (as to be expected from the NZ television media, I guess), and they cut out my best stuff. Also, I badly needed (and, have since had) a hair cut (hence the over-use of product). Just the same, I am proud of making the national media after only three weeks in the job, with a story I pretty much peddled from the start (I was under the impression that it was going to be a small part of a bigger story, not the main part of the story).

Trevor Mallard is quoted as saying there was a lot of abuse of the former system, with people getting married in order to qualify. This is absolutely without basis - there were only a few hundred students who qualified because they are married, as opposed to the 8,000 who qualified through the 96 week rule. Politicians use statistics like a drunk uses a lamp post - for support rather than illumination. I guess that's what happens when you have a former VUWSA President as your advisor...

It is also going to be covered in the Wellingtonian and Western News this week. Interestingly, Michelle Quirk from the Dominion Post (who is normally all over our media releases) hasn't touched it.

UPDATE: Here's the (slightly factually incorrect) NewsTalk ZB piece on it.

Blogger Drinks

This Wednesday, 7pm at the Backbencher. I'll be there a little later, hopefully with a group of NZUSA lackies.

Possibly the first and last time you will ever see Jordan and David cooperating...

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Blog Lite

I am flying to Auckland for a funeral tonight, and won't be back until Monday night, so there probably won't be any posts here for a few days.

See you all next week!


TVNZ Interview

I've just done an interview with TVNZ regarding the abolition of the independent circumstances allowance, after they picked up my media release. They filmed me in the foodbank, which is a dark, crampt room across the lobby from the VUWSA Offices.

UPDATE: Capital Times have also picked up the media release, and are sending a photographer around this afternoon.

UPDATE 2: Just done an interview with Newstalk ZB.

UPDATE 3: My media release is on Scoop. Mind you, every man and his dog can get on Scoop...

Media Releace - 2004 Busiest Year for Student Food Bank

2004 saw more students than any other year use the food bank at the Victoria University Students’ Association (VUWSA), says Jeremy Greenbrook, Association President.

“VUWSA gave out 542 food parcels to financially stricken students in 2004, up almost 40% from 390 in 2003” Greenbrook said. “This clearly shows that the financial assistance that the government is pledging to students simply isn’t getting through.”

Not being able to get enough work, or having to take time off work for exams were the most common causes for students to use the food bank facility. International students were disproportionately high in the figures, hit by the strong Kiwi dollar and an increase in international fees.

“2005 will probably be even busier, with 6000 students nationwide being cut off from the independent circumstances allowance, and forced to borrow money in order to live” said Greenbrook.

For further details, contact:
Jeremy Greenbrook
President - Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association
021 899 430 – 04 463 6986

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Free Bread

Every Wednesday morning, VUWSA puts free bread out for hungry students. This is donated by Brumbies bakery in Karori, and involves a VUWSA exec member driving out to K Town on Tuesday night and picking up 3-4 big sacks of bread, bagging it up, and putting it out the front of our offices for the students to pick up when we unlock in the morning. This week, each bag was lovingly packed by the President - my favourate shirt is covered in flour, and I smell like a bakery :-)

In my time at VUWSA I've seen the number of students turning up early for bread increase, and get earlier. The number of international students who are here at 8am (often even earlier) is astounding. I know I wouldn't get up that early to get bread unless I really needed to.

This is what the student association is all about for me - providing a economical, reliable service for our members. It is not about ending the War in Iraq, bringing down the Bush administration, starting the revolution, or giving money to pot smokers. It is about making life just that much easier for our members - the students. This is, I hope, the theme for the 2005 exec, as I know that certainly hasn't been the case in the past.

What Did You Do In the Holidays?

For the record, I did not go on the Clarion Tour that appeared in the Timaru Herald.

Nerd Score

I just saw this on Bloggreen's site, and had to have a go.

I am nerdier than 15% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

I actually thought it would have been higher for a post graduate, four-eyed, student politician, but it appears not...


Apparently, there was an earthquake just north of Wellington this afternoon - a 4.4 on the richter scale.

Some people in the office felt it, as did Jordan and David.

Not me though - I haven't felt an earthquake in the entire 3 years I've lived in Wellington.

Hannah Collings Standing for ACT in Rimatuka

At last night's exec meeting, VUWSA Clubs Officer Hannah Collings announced that she is standing as the ACT candidate against Paul Swain in Rimutuka.

While I don't agree with Hannah's (or ACT's) politics a lot of the time (actually, most of the time), and we have had our differences (including a little bit of a barney this morning), she is a lovely, good natured woman, and I wish her all the best with her campaign.

And, yes this is one of the candidates I was referring to here.

Strange Priorities

And I thought the National Party was a semi-serious political party. This (via DPF) is a joke.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Exec Meeting 1

I chaired my first exec meeting as President this evening. It was fun, in a fucked up sort of way.

Agenda items of interest:
  • There was significant discussion about weather we should be funding NZUSA to include the EFTS (Effective Full Time Student) from the former Wellington College of Education. This is how it works: NZUSA is funded by member associations on a per EFTS basis. Last year it was $4.50 per ETFS, this year it may be different. Because up to the minute EFTS figures are hard to come by from the Ministry or institutions, NZUSA work on the previous years figures. This creates a small situation with SAWCE winding up at the end of the year, yet not being part of VUWSA in 2004, not counted in 2005. NZUSA therefore requested that we "voluntarily" pay for the extra 1,200 students that we took on. This passed, with Hannah Collings abstaining.
  • There was a debate about weather it was right to increase Orientation tickets by $1 as a fundraiser for tsunami victims. Some exec members said that some students might not like automatically contributing to a charity. If you are one of these students, I'm keen to hear from you, and find out what makes you tick (if, indeed, you do tick). Please call me on 04 463 6986, and I'll buy you a cup of coffee or a litre of blood (whatever floats your boat). I personally think that this is the most worth while "charity" VUWSA has supported in recent history - certainly much more valid than the 2004 NORML J-Day debacle...

Fun times. It was a reasonably short meeting at just 1 hour, 15 minutes.

This Guy is Funny

Although I don't agree with his politics, but he has some funny (if not slightly juvenile) stuff on his blog (here and here).

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Bloggers Drinks

Jordan has sugested a bloggers drinks at the BackBencher at 6pm on 26 Jan. Unfortunatly, it will also be the opening plenery of NZUSA January Conference, so I won't be there.

Flatting Demand

If you walk around Dunedin late in the university year, you see in all the windows of the flats "Rented for 2005". Apparently, all the students go around all the mint flats, and ask if they can rent it next year. To stop people from visiting, they put these signs up.

Well, we had a group of young students come and ask if our flat was available today. I seems we might be breaking the flat up in the next few weeks, and I could be making my first move in Wellington outside of Kelburn...

By Pass

Earlier this year, as part of a transportation geography paper, I had to debate that the Wellington Inner City Bypass is a good thing. This wasn't too hard, as those that support the by pass (ie Transit NZ, most of the Wellington City Council) have money, and are able to form a considerably more concrete case for it than those that are against it (ie CBC or whatever they call themselves).

However, I'm fairly sure the whole idea behind it is to gentrify Te Aro to hell, so that liberals (such as former VUWSA exec member, Lenka Rochford or on video here) can no longer afford to live there, and Kerry ensures herself another three years as Mayor.

The whole bypass is like fitting wheels to a turnip - time consuming, and utterly pointless (yes, that is not original). It will mearly shift the conjestion point to another part of town.

The current situation is thus:

A 100km/hour four lane motorway, feeding through a two lane tunnel (The
Terrace tunnel) into a 50km/hour indirecturban street (with pedestrians,
traffic lights, intersections etc), along an fourlane duel carrage
way, and then back into a two lane tunnel (Mt Victoria tunnel).

The by pass will mearly straighten this out. There will still be 5 sets of traffic lights, it will still be a 50km/hour road. It will make it slightly safer for pedestrians (providing they stick to the designated routes). It will save an estimated 90 seconds travelling through the central city.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Dude, I'm Getting Old...

I see via Jeremy's blog, they held the 17th New Zealand Scout Jamboree in Fielding over New Year.

It seems like only yesterday I attended the 13th Jamboree in Upper Hutt as an 11-year-old...

Strange Times In the City of Sails...

Interesting to read (here and here) that Stephen, Oliver, and Mellie from Phillosphically Made, and my good friend Constar were hosted to wine and cheese by Mr Bhatnagar.

Good on you guys. Would actually be quite cool to have a similar evening at the BackBencher in Wellington. Either that or a bit of Carter - Farrar bouncy boxing during the election.

I wonder if the Coop entertained everyone with his/Bjorn Lomborg's thoughts on global warming...?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Battle royal

Three Point Turn has posted about the up-coming election race in Wellington Central between sitting MP and Cabinet Minister Marian Hobbs and former mayor Mark Blumsky, and the subsequent battle of their blogger campaign managers: Jordan Carter in the red corner, and David Farrar in the blue.

TPT is right - it is going to be great for any political junky (of which there seems to be an abundance in Wellington), although I'm not sure about the result. After being heavily involved in Marian's campaign in 2002, I'm going to enjoy watching the 2005 campaign from the sidelines. I believe that as many as three of my exec members might be running outside of Wellington Central, just the same.

Interestingly, No Right Turn's political compass of bloggers has Labour Party member Carter at about the same standing as Alliance member Span, while National Party member Farrar is to the right of ACT member The Whig. For the record, when I ran for VUWSA President, my PC was -6, -6.

Slow Day at the VUWSA Office

Today has been my slowest day yet at the VUWSA office. No one has come to see me, and I've spent most of the morning staring mindlessly at a proposal I'm trying to write.

Lunch was a highlight. Vicky's never ceases to amaze me: today's menu is
  • Beef Lesagne
  • Vegetable and Egg Noodle Stir fry
  • Chickpea Curry

Needless to say, I abandoned my diet, and went with something deepfried. My New Year's resolution is to loose weight. This means only water and coffee (with trim milk) during the day (no softdrinks), eating breakfast (a new, and novel concept to me) so I don't have a big lunch and sticking to three meals a day, not drinking beer mid week, and going for a run from Kelburn to Northland and back each morning.

The running is killing me. My mother used to run semi-seriously. She completed the Auckland Marathon twice, and has done several half marathons. Apart from when I was playing rugby as a kid, I never really took to it. Instead I took up golf, which involves a nice leisurely walk - much easier.

Anyway, mum said that I'd feel really good after I've been for a run. I do feel really good when it's over - I don't have to run anymore (if you walk to work between 7:30 and 8:00 along Upland Road, Northland Road, or Raroa Crescent, and you see someone staggering along, looking like they'd rather be dead, please stop, help me - tell me I'm doing the right thing). But after the exhaustion has warn of, and I can walk/crawl again, my body aches, my eyes are sore, and all I want to do all day is lie down on the couch in my office and go to sleep.

Remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Tim Burton is remaking the classic kids movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The original will be a hard to live up to, and I have my doubts as to weather Johnny Depp will be a match for Gene Wilder ("Candy is dandy, but liquer is quicker" - words that I live my life by), but it should be good fun.

Fun fact for the day: Peter Ostrum, the actor that played Charlie in the original, never made another movie. He is now Dr Ostrum, a vet in upstate New York. I was led to beleive that he was one of the Dukes of Hazard, but apparently this is false.

K Town

VUWSA finally has a branch office. With the merger of Victoria University and the Wellington College of Education, VUWSA and the WCE students' Association (SAWCE) have also merged (ie, VUWSA engulfed SAWCE).

SAWCE brought with them some fairly mint offices at the Karori Campus, backing right onto the main quad area. As much as I hate to admit it, the Karori Campus really nice.

I'm doing office hours out there every Tuesday (1pm-5pm) and Friday (9am-12pm) from tomorrow until a representative group is set up out there. If your at Karori, come visit me!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Web Updates - Fun, Fun

The VUWSA website has finally been updated (due to my persistent bugging of our IT people and website), with the 2005 Exec, and my President's Welcome (the same one that is published in the VUWSA Handbook Diary).

The idea came from Canterbury, although Jane Chirnside (who, at time of writing was still listed as President) got beaten by no confidence to continue as President, and George Hampton got the job in the end - Critic covered the whole sordid affair here (and Salient reprinted it).

I have linked my blog photo from the President's Welcome. Unfortunatly, it looks like I'm missing teeth...

Marc Alexander can't spell for "nuts"!

Just been alerted, via a mailing list, to this press release by United Future's Marc Alexander. I copied and pasted it into a Word doc, and "Suppermarkets", "decion", "judgement", and "purchse" are all underlined as spelling mistakes.

This is not an isolated case. In this release, "beaurocratic" is underlined.

According to the their website, United Future will increase "resources for years 1, 2, and 3 in primary schools for reading, writing and arithmetic." Perhaps that should start in their parliamentary office...

Friday, January 07, 2005

Fun Things I've Found In the President's Office #1

I've spent the last couple of days getting acquainted with my new office. This has meant trawling through the files, and reading anything which has caught my attention.

Some interesting finds:
  • According to the 1968 Student Handbook, the co-president's of the Political Club were former ACT MP Owen Jennings and Green MP Sue Kedgley. Kedgley was Women's Vice President of VUWSA at the time. All the exec photos in the 1968 Handbook are studio portraits.
  • The President's voice mail name tag was still set to 2000-2001 President Chris Hipkins.
  • The bottom of the desk drawer has a plentiful supply of fastfood sachets of sugar, salt, and pepper, as well as hotel soaps.
  • The pot plant on top of my filing cabinet takes only half a cup of water before it overflows. I found this out after I had tipped a beer jug of water over it this morning.
  • The office is big and easy to loose stuff in (or maybe that's just me?).

Thursday, January 06, 2005

2004 Roundup

(From DPF)

What did you do in 2004 that you’d never done before?
Graduate with a BA (Politics and History), and a BSc (Geography). Venture south of Christchurch (to Dunedin in September).

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Didn't make any.

Did anyone close to you give birth?

Did anyone close to you die?

What countries did you visit?

What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
A nice flat.

What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
December 3 - the day Phoebe flew into Wellington to stay for 3 weeks.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
An "A" average in my masters papers, recruiting 900 class reps as Education Vice President, or winning the election as President.

What was your biggest failure?
Didn't get David Zwartz re-elected to the Wellington City Council.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Got the flu just before fee setting.

What was the best thing you bought?
Beer at JJ Murphy's.

Whose behavior merited celebration?
Te Makao Bowkett and Kevin Duggen for voting against the Victoria University Fee Increase.
Adam Maynard for achieving a zero fee increase at Massey University.
Everyone involved in the CUB Campaign.

Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Brian Tamaki and Destiny Church.
Dale Jones for his speeches in opposition to the CUB.

Where did most of your money go?

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
A new relationship, albeit from a distance.

What song will always remind you of 2004?
Man in the Moon by REM.

Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? happier
ii. thinner or fatter? fatter
iii. richer or poorer? poorer

What do you wish you could have done more of?
Socialising with freinds, getting fit, spending time with Phoebe, seeing movies.

What do you wish you could have done less of?

How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas Day with Phoebe's family in Remuera, Boxing Day with my family at Omaha.

Did you fall in love in 2004?

How many one-night stands?

What was your favorite TV program?
Blackadder (getting a little old now, bust still good), The Office, The West Wing.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No, not really.

What was the best book you read?
The Fatherland by Robert Harris.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
Came rather late, but U2's How to Defuse an Atomic Bomb is great.

What did you want and get?
The above CD and a new laptop.

What did you want and not get?

What was your favorite film of this year?
Shrek 2

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Dinner at Cadronna pub in Mt Eden with extended family. I was 23.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A zero fee increase.

How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
Colour blind.

What kept you sane?
Regular phone calls from Phoebe.

Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

What political issue stirred you the most?
Civil Unions Bill.

Who did you miss?

Who was the best new person you met?
Indigo Freya, VUWSA's former office coordinator. Nicest person in the world, with an awesome sense of humour.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:
Always listern to the people.

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
That was a wonderful remark. (Van Morrison)

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Media Release - Victoria Students Hopeful with New Leadership in 2005

Jeremy Greenbrook, the new President of the Victoria University Students’ Association (VUWSA) is hopeful that 2005 will be a better for Victoria students.

“2005 sees Victoria University with a new Chancellor, Pro Chancellor, and Vice Chancellor, as well as a relatively new Minister of Tertiary Education” says Greenbrook. “The changing of the guard will be closely watched by Victoria University students, who have had to bear the brunt of two significant fee increases in as many years, and the abolition of the Independent Circumstances Allowance this year.”

“Victoria students are fed up with the corporate, profit making mentality that has emerged at the university, and in the wider tertiary sector. This new leadership has the opportunity to turn this around in 2005. If this does not happen, students will be holding them accountable for the escalating student debt and hardship” Greenbrook said.

Jeremy Greenbrook is a postgraduate student, completing a Masters thesis in Geography. He is joined by Vice President (Education), Jennifer Jones, and Vice President (Welfare), Nick Kelly.


For further details, contact:
Jeremy Greenbrook
President - Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association
021 899 430 – 04 463 6986

Monday, January 03, 2005

New Years Etc

Today is Day 3 of the Greenbrook Administration (although, I don't really start back until Wednesday, when I fly back to Wellington).

Anyway, the main purpose of this post is so that it says "January 2005" under archives on the sidebar. Fun times in Kumeu, you can probably tell.

Fairly uneventful New Year. Went to a New Years Eve party in Morningside (for life!). Wasn't too bad I guess. Had a good catch up with a few old friends over a beer or 12. Soon after midnight, recieved a stream of text messages from the likes of Jordan, Conor, Nick, and Jules, and missed phonecalls (and subsequent voice mails) from Tony and a very drunk former AUSA EVP - who shell remain nameless (although it was a very nice message, just the same).

Drove down to Pauanui on the Coromandel with a few mates yesturday. My god, I've never seen anything like it. Talk about the lifestyles of the rich and famous. BMW's everywhere. Someone in Auckland is obviously doing very well, thank you very much.

Had coffee this afternoon with an old school friend who had emailed me through Old Friends. I haven't really kept in touch with many of my friends from high school (mainly because I didn't have many), but she was as lovely and sweet as ever.
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