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AUT Answers Councillor's Qs on Manukau Campus

Auckland University of Technology's Director of Public Affairs Nigel Murphy, has issued a response to Cr Michael Williams regarding AUT opening a Manukau Campus.

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Some questions have been raised about AUT University opening a campus in Manukau City …

Is it the right location?

This proposal does not conflict with the longer term plan to build a university campus in the Manukau City CBD. The point is that construction will not be complete until 2015 or so and the residents of Manukau can’t wait that long. This proposal helps meet Manukau residents’ rapidly growing need for ready access to higher education, in the interim.

Will it really not cost ratepayers anything?

Correct, it won’t. The terms of the proposal are unequivocal: AUT will cover the interest costs and the impact of that will be felt in AUT’s books, not Manukau City Council’s.

Will this proposal harm MIT?

AUT, MIT and Manukau City Council continue to work together on the long term plan for a new university campus in Manukau’s CBD. This proposal is consistent with that. AUT is keen to open this interim campus in Manukau because we see the need and want to respond to it – that’s the type of university we are. So let’s be clear: AUT does not need to do this; AUT wants to do this. And we have no desire to compete with MIT. Nor is there any need to compete.

Isn’t MIT better-placed than AUT to meet Manukau’s educational need?

Manukau City’s economic studies show that by 2012 there will be 21,000 new jobs in Manukau requiring tertiary qualifications. It is difficult to see how any single institution can meet that demand on its own. Whereas the combination of a leading institute of technology and a “vibrant, research-led university” (Dr Michael Cullen) will be far more powerful.

But surely a university will be no silver bullet to remedy poor education outcomes in South Auckland?

Nobody is pretending that a university campus will solve all Manukau’s education needs. But equally, it’s hard to argue – with any credibility – that it won’t help. AUT became a university in 2000 and has developed a reputation for being responsive to stakeholder needs. AUT is already engaged with secondary schools in Manukau City and with local businesses and communities, via our Institute of Public Policy and our Office for Pasifika Advancement, headed by Pauline Winter.


ENDS

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