YET MORE EFFICIENCIES?
The Association of University Staff [AUS] expressed some dismay at the Government’s tertiary sector efficiency study announced yesterday. “While we support a focus on identifying and encouraging collaborative strategies such as shared services and course delivery/design in the sector,” said Neville Blampied, AUS National President, “There is a depressing sense of déjà vu in the focus on finding more efficiencies in the system”.
Neville Blampied, continued, “The aim to wring even more efficiencies out of the system is a familiar one to university staff. It was the justification for the ill-fated green and white papers of the previous Government. What is needed now is not more investigation of efficiencies, but more Government commitment to public investment, international benchmarking and a sustained determination to reach essential targets for quality, participation and research achievement”.
“University staff have achieved more than a 10% increase in productivity since 1991. This is now saving the university system more than $50 million a year. Despite this, university pay has not even kept up with inflation since 1991 – and we now have a two-year, Government-imposed pay freeze in the sector. Staff are operating in a system that has unacceptably high student:staff ratios and is 590 academic staff short of early 1990s staffing levels. Hours of work and workloads are at unprecedented levels, in a university system that has already been cut to the bone – and operates at around 60% of the funding levels of Australian universities. How much more efficient can New Zealand universities and their staff get?!” asked Mr Blampied.
Neville Blampied, 03 364 2199, 021 680 475
Rob Crozier, 04 915 6691, 021 375 661