Where is "fairness, security and opportunity"?
Noting that last week's Budget was claimed to be about "Fairness, security, and opportunity", Neville Blampied, AUS National President, said in Christchurch today that "This positive spin on the Budget is beginning to sound very hollow for university staff. Financial crises at several universities, including Massey University and Victoria University mean that fairness, security and opportunity are fast disappearing for many people working in our universities.
“Unless there is decisive action, more university staff will be made redundant from New Zealand's universities in the first year of the Labour-Alliance government than in our entire history.
"University staff are not to blame for these crises," said Neville Blampied.
"They did not systematically reduce funding per student, create vicious competition between institutions, appoint incompetent managers, nor cause the current downturn in student numbers. Yet they bear the painful costs in severe stress, constant restructurings, large-scale redundancies, and destruction of career opportunities."
“AUS members at Victoria will be working with senior administrators to seek long-term solutions to the university's problems. Because the problems cannot be solved just by local initiatives, AUS is also seeking a joint meeting between staff, students, management, the University Council and the responsible Government Ministers.
"The Government has set the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission (TEAC) up to advise it on the strategic direction for the tertiary education sector" Neville Blampied said.
"While TEAC does its work, the Government has a responsibility to maintain the status quo in the university sector, otherwise the integrity of the TEAC process is called seriously into question."
“We urge the Government to take whatever remedial action is necessary to maintain the status quo pending the initial report of TEAC. Returning the $62.5 million arbitrarily removed from the sector in 1998 in response to the Asian financial crisis would be a good start!”
Contact numbers for Neville Blampied:
021 680 475 (mob) (03) 364 2199 (wk) (03) 332