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Vice-Chancellors Welcome Minister's Statement

New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee Combined University Unions

Attn Education Reporter 18 May 2006

University Staff and Vice-Chancellors Welcome Minister's Statement

The New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee (NZVCC) and unions in the tertiary education Sector today welcomed the assurance given by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Dr Michael Cullen, that, following the next meeting of the University Tripartite Forum, an announcement would be made on additional university funding. The meeting is scheduled for next Thursday, 25 May.

Association of University Staff General Secretary, Helen Kelly, said that, while members were expecting to see the new money in the Budget, she understood that a contingency fund was an appropriate mechanism for this type of issue. "The fact that salary levels in the sector are too low is now accepted by the Government, and the priority for union members is that this is sorted out," she said.

NZVCC Chair, Professor Roy Sharp, also welcomed Dr Cullen's assurance, and said that there was a real commitment from all the parties to meet as soon as possible now the Budget was out of the way so immediate progress could be made on what was now the most pressing issue in the sector.

*********

The following questions and answers were provided by the Minister's office

University Funding and the Budget - Questions and Answers
(Provided by Dr Cullen's office)

Dr Cullen is on record talking about the need for more investment in the university sector why can't we find a Budget initiative on university staff salaries?

The Minister has acknowledged that there is a case for investment in the university sector in the short term. The government is working with the New Zealand Vice Chancellors Committee and the Association of University Staff in the Tripartite Forum. The Tripartite Forum will be meeting next Thursday 25 May. Announcements will be made following completion of the Forum's discussion.

Does this mean that there is no possibility of additional University funding in the current year?

No. Contingencies are often used in relation to matters that are subject to negotiation and these are rarely specified in Budget documents.

ENDS

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