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AUS Tertiary Update Vol. 3 No. 15, 9 June 2000

AUS Tertiary Update Vol. 3 No. 15, 9 June 2000

Four motions passed at a meeting of about 230 Massey staff at the Palmerston North campus this week received strong, often unanimous support.
The four motions:
 condemned the ‘repositioning’ exercise
 called on the Academic Board and University Council to cease all action on the ‘repositioning’ plan until after TEAC has reported
 expressed no confidence in James McWha as Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of Massey and called for his resignation
 thanked student organisations for their support.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:
1. USP Staff Concerned About Boycott Call
2. Budget Awaited
3. More Money for Careers Advice
4. No R&D Tax Breaks Says Cullen
5. Employment Relations Bill Promotes More Certainty in Law
6. Former AUS President Honoured

Staff at the University of the South Pacific (USP) responded to the AUS/NTEU academic boycott mentioned in last week’s Tertiary Update.
They asked us to note that USP is not a Fiji institution, but a regional institution with 12 small island member countries and were concerned that such actions could harm other regional organisations.
AUS regrets that actions directed against USP and in support of constitutional, representative, democratic government in Fiji may potentially adversely affect other Pacific region countries, organisations and students. National AUS President Neville Blampied says blame for that should be directed at the coup leaders.
“We will monitor the situation closely and modify our stand as soon as the situation in Fiji warrants,” he said.

AUS will be attending the Budget ‘lock-up’ next Thursday 15 June and will also be at the pre-Budget briefing arranged by Ministers Trevor Mallard and Steve Maharey with representatives of other education sector groups. Pre-budget announcements continue…

Tax breaks for research and development were ruled out in the upcoming Budget by Finance Minister Michael Cullen, who said they could lead to creative accounting by companies without R&D being undertaken.
The Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) has accused the Government of reneging on a pre-election pledge that it would allow businesses to fully expense R&D spending in the year they incurred it.
Advice from Treasury and IRD suggested tax breaks would be irrelevant to small and young research-orientated companies which may not be making a profit, Dr Cullen said.

Employment law specialists John Hughes, Gordon Anderson and Paul Roth have taken issue with claims from employer groups that the drafting of the Employment Relations Bill is “too legalistic” or “prescriptive”.
They argue that the descriptive nature of key provisions in the ERB promotes, rather than reduces certainty, as to the operation of the law.
The academics find it puzzling that employers, who have complained for years of the lack of prescription regarding the requirements of procedural fairness, should now complain that the draft legislation is too prescriptive.
Recognising that, as with any bill, some aspects of the ERB require technical amendment, they argue that certainty is promoted, rather than undermined, by clear guidelines in legislation.

Associate Minister of Education, Steve Maharey, has hailed the recently launched memorandum of understanding between Hutt Valley Polytechnic and Unitec as part of a welcome shift towards a more cooperative and collaborative tertiary sector. He noted that the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission was currently grappling with how to construct such a sector, the drivers were not yet in place, but the Government’s objectives were clear: “Institutions should start now in moving away from the competitive model and towards more cooperative, collaborative strategies”.

AUS congratulates all those current and former academic staff, scholars and researchers honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours List. In particular, we congratulate Ruth Butterworth, former National AUS President, on becoming a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM).


The European Parliament wants each member state to spend at least 3% of its gross domestic product on research within the next two years – this is nearly double the present amount. [New Zealand currently spends only 0.57% of its GDP on research]. It acknowledges that this would be impossible through public funding alone and states that considerable political efforts must be made to improve the preconditions for increasing private sector contributions – and for raising public awareness.

AUS Tertiary Update is produced weekly on Fridays and distributed freely to members of the union and others. Back issues are archived on the AUS website: . Direct enquiries to Rob Crozier, AUS executive director. Email:

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