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PN City Council support for Massey staff and stude

AUS websiteA delegation of Association of University Staff (AUS) members, led by National President, Neville Blampied, and Massey Branch President, Tony Lewis, attended the Palmerston North City Council meeting on Monday evening (26th June). They were supported by a large number of Massey University staff. The delegation spoke in support of a recommendation from the Council's City Development Committee that the Council had a leadership role with respect to the Massey "repositioning" and should seek briefings from Massey management, and from staff, students and other groups on the proposals and their impact.

Speaking to the Council, Neville Blampied said “Any city or region which wished to prosper in the knowledge society/information economy of the 21st century needs to build deep and wide links with their local university.” He pointed out to the Council that both were public institutions, with clear responsibilities to their communities, and both would benefit from working together to meet current challenges.

“AUS asked the City Council to support a very reasonable, commonsense resolution of the university staff, asking the University management and University Council to defer any further action on the planned ‘repositioning’ until the Tertiary Education Advisory Commission had reported to the Government on the strategic direction of the sector,” Neville Blampied said.

Supporting the AUS claim that the scale of the proposed Massey University redundancies was unprecedented for a New Zealand University, Tony Lewis gave details of heavy cuts proposed for staff in science, applied science, social science and humanities subjects. “Staff are convinced that there are effective alternative ways to solve the University’s current problems. Staff need time and support to work through these alternative ideas,” he said.”

After lively debate the City Council passed five resolutions, all indicating concern with the social and economic impact of the Massey University “repositioning”, and committing the Council to express its concerns directly to Massey University Management and Council. The Council resolved to "invite" the university to consider delaying the "repositioning" until after the TEAC report had been considered by the Government.

Speaking after the meeting, Neville Blampied said, “This is a very positive development. The University can treat the City Council’s interest as a threat or an opportunity. It should be treated as an opportunity for the two organisations, each with a vital role in their communities, to work together long-term for the good of the city and its people, the region and its economy, and the university and its staff and students.”

For more information please contact:

Neville Blampied Tony Lewis AUS Massey Office
021-680475 025-2113290 06-350-5021

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