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Wananga statement on final submission to Minister

19 July 2005

Statement from Wananga on final submission to Minister

Council of Te Wananga o Aotearoa /Te Mana Whakahere Chair, Craig Coxhead.

“Restructuring of the Council and management combined with improvements in the institution’s financial position mean there is no need for the Minister of Education to appoint a Crown Commissioner to manage Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

“The Council met this morning to complete its final submission on Hon Trevor Mallard’s proposal to appoint a Crown Commissioner to run the Wananga, under the provisions of the Education Act 1989. The submission was delivered prior to the extended deadline of 5pm, Tuesday 19 July.

“Since the Minister began the process of considering the appointment of a Commissioner in May, the Council and management have worked very hard to stabilise and then improve our financial position. At the same time, we have also pushed through a restructuring of the Council and management so that the financial gains will be consolidated by more effective governance and management structures.

“Working closely with the Crown Manager appointed by Mr Mallard, Council and management have improved the financial position faster than expected. Only $12m of the $20m loan facility provided by the Crown earlier this year was required. Of that $12m, six million dollars has already been repaid. By the end of this month that facility will reduce to $10m in total and the Wananga does not expect to utilise that facility after September this year.

“In summary, the proposal the Council has put to the Minister is as follows:

The Council will be reduced in size to five members from the current 14. This change will provide more focused governance and additional members will be recruited over time to strengthen the mix of skills on the Council. In recognition of their contribution to the foundation and development of Te Wananga o Aotearoa, departing Council members will be appointed to a body to be known as Nga Tuara (supportive backbone). Their responsibilities will be concentrated on ceremonial duties, including graduations, which uphold the traditions developed by Te Wananga. The five remaining members of the Council will be: Craig Coxhead (Chair), Wira Gardiner, Richard Batley, Tania Hodges and Lloyd Anderson.

The implementation of the new management structure will proceed quickly with advertisements being placed for key positions shortly. Part of the proposed change has already occurred with key posts, including the new Chief Operating officer role, filled by interim appointments. The process for permanent appointments to these positions will be transparent and follow State Services Commission guidelines. The positions will be open to both internal and external candidates.

The current Crown Manager’s role will be retained for up to a further 12 months to ensure the progress in improving financial management continues throughout the transition to a new management structure and team.

“Te Wananga o Aotearoa is confident that this package combined with the improved financial position means the institution does not meet the tests in the Education Act which would require the Minister to appoint a Crown Commissioner. It believes the measures put in place in the last four months provide a viable long term future for Te Wananga o Aotearoa.

“While developing this package, Te Wananga o Aotearoa has remained in close contact with key government and non-government stakeholders and believes that both the short and longer term responses by the Council and management have met or exceeded stakeholder expectations for change.

“In developing the proposals for reform, the Council believes Te Wananga o Aotearoa has provided an effective pathway to a stable long term future and addressed the key concerns that lead the Minister of Education to propose appointing a Crown Commissioner.

“Any remaining uncertainties surrounding the future of the Wananga are those it shares with all other tertiary institutions resulting from a number of policy and funding reviews. Like other institutions in the sector, Te Wananga o Aotearoa will make the appropriate adjustments when the results of the reviews are announced*.

“The return to financial stability and the changes to Council and management place a clear boundary between the recent past and an effective and healthy future for Te Wananga o Aotearoa. Throughout the uncertainties of 2005, staff at Te Wananga have continued to provide excellent teaching and students have continued to pursue their education with dedication. Their efforts provide proof of the value of Te Wananga o Aotearoa.”

*The result of a review of funding for community education presented yesterday will have no impact on the Wananga as it does not offer courses of this kind.

ENDS

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