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Support for Unitec

25 May 2005

Support for Unitec from national interest submissions

As Unitec New Zealand¹s fight to gain university status enters the final stages, the institution has received a boost from the business sector and local government.

Submissions on whether Unitec¹s redesignation as a university is in the national interest closed last week and the majority supported Unitec, including submissions from the Employer and Manufacturers Association (EMA), Auckland Chamber of Commerce and the Waitakere and Auckland City Councils.

Unitec CEO Dr John Webster said that the business organisations had a clear understanding of Unitec¹s university of technology profile and strongly supported the institution¹s direction.

³The Auckland Chamber of Commerce points out that, with the skills shortage and the underperformance of many small-medium enterprises, legal recognition as a university of technology will help Unitec meet the urgent needs of business.

³The EMA also recognises the need for a new type of university to support business growth, and that Unitec is uniquely placed to meet this need.²

The national interest submissions were the final stage of public consultation on the Unitec application, which was first lodged in 1999.

Unitec had waited for five years for its application to be processed and was finally forced to take legal action to progress its assessment. Although the Minister is due to make his decision by 1 July, the court case is proceeding and starts on 2 June in Wellington.

The Minister will base his decision on the recommendations of an international panel and on the national interest submissions.

Dr Webster said that the submissions reinforced the overwhelming support that existed for Unitec¹s application, with only 18 of the 70 submissions opposing Unitec.

³The submissions, when combined with the Waitakere City Council¹s long-stated position that our status as a university of technology is vital to their long-term strategies, which they reiterated in their submission, and the support we are receiving from our local communities ­ Maori and Pacific Peoples in particular ­ sends a strong message that Unitec¹s redesignation is in both the regional and national interests.²

A recent Colmar Brunton poll showed that 87 percent of residents in west Auckland and Waitakere City believed that their area would benefit from having a locally-based university of technology, and 75 percent actively supported Unitec¹s current bid.

ENDS


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