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Poll shows support for Unitec university bid

11 May 2005

Poll shows support for Unitec university bid

After five years of trying to prevent Unitec from becoming a university of technology, the Government is at odds with the people of West Auckland and Waitakere, according to a recent poll.

The Colmar Brunton poll shows that 87 percent of residents believe that their area would benefit from having a locally-based university of technology, and 75 percent actively support Unitec’s current bid for university status with only four percent strongly opposed.

With campuses in Mt Albert and Waitakere City, Unitec has been battling for university of technology status since 1999. CEO Dr John Webster said that the results of the poll, which covered Waitakere City and suburbs in West Auckland, backed up what Unitec had always believed.

“We have always believed that we can best serve regional and national interests as a university of technology, offering opportunities for learners, and especially adult learners, that cannot be delivered through more traditional universities or polytechnics. This poll shows that the vast majority of our local stakeholders agree.

“Waitakere City is the fifth-largest city in New Zealand, but still has no university dedicated to serving their needs. West Aucklanders want a university of technology, not a traditional, research-led university, and they clearly support our strategic directions.

“University of technology status for Unitec would give people across our region the opportunity to gain university qualifications directly relevant to their community, industry and business at certificate, diploma, degree, or postgraduate level.”

Dr Webster said that local stakeholders could see that Unitec was already operating successfully as a university of technology and that recognition for the achievements of the institution and the region would help to open up more opportunities.

“Given the priorities that the Government has identified for the tertiary sector, we would expect them to support our redesignation.

“After all, it won’t cost them any extra money, and the proposal not only enjoys the support of employers, the professions and the City Councils of Auckland and Waitakere – as shown by their submissions to the Select Committee on Education and Science late last year – but also that of voters in our region.”

ENDS


KEY FINDINGS:

Introduction
Colmar Brunton conducted a research project for Unitec New Zealand in April 2005 to gauge the awareness and support of Unitec’s efforts to gain “University of Technology” status.

Key Findings
Support for University of Technology vs Traditional University for West Auckland
87% favour a University of Technology over a traditional university (60%)
NB: The term “University of Technology” was fully explained to the respondents

Support for Unitec’s efforts to be recognized as a University of Technology
75% of people from West Auckland and Waitakere support Unitec’s efforts
53% support these efforts “strongly”, 22% support these efforts “a little”
Just 9% oppose Unitec’s efforts, with the remainder (16%) expressing no opinion (either “a little” or “strongly”)

If Unitec received “University of Technology” status, how much more able to meet the educational needs of West Aucklanders would it be?
72% think that Unitec would be more able to meet the educational needs of West Aucklanders
46% think much more able, 26% a little more able
4% think they would be less able to meet the educational needs of people from West Auckland

Awareness of Unitec’s efforts to be recognised as a University of Technology
58% of people from West Auckland and Waitakere are aware of Unitec’s efforts

Methodology
A telephone survey was conducted between the 23rd and 24th of April 2005 that was based on a sample size of 500. The sample was created from randomly generated telephone numbers in the West Auckland and Waitakere region. 330 of these were taken specifically from the Waitakere region and 170 from Mt Albert and other West Auckland suburbs. Respondents were those aged 18 and over from these regions. This research has been weighted to the age and gender population as per the 2001 census to ensure the sample is representative.

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