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Government To Strengthen Tertiary Governance

Government To Strengthen Tertiary Governance Arrangements

Legislation being introduced into Parliament next month will match tertiary institution governance and management capabiities with the demands of the 21st century, Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Addressing the Association of Polytechnics in New Zealand annual conference in Wellington this morning, Mr Maharey said that the kind of governance and management arrangements that prevailed in the last century are not adequate to meet the demands of this century. New measures, to be introduced to Parliament in December, will strengthen the ability of tertiary councils to hold institution chief executives accountable and allow for greater Government assistance to at risk institutions.

"The demands on tertiary council governance and management have substantially increased in line with the level of skill needed to be active in the modern economy. Tertiary councils will be given new clear responsibilities.

"Where institutions are at risk the new legislation will provide for a new series of powers, graduated on the basis of risk, and improved monitoring comprising:
 a requirement for more frequent and in-depth provision of information;
 the appointment of an Observer to the Council of the institution; and
 where institutional performance and/or governance seriously threatens the viability of an institution, the responsible Minister would be able to dissolve the council and appoint a commissioner whose task would be to assume governance responsibilities and to ensure the long-term educational needs of the community served by the institution continue to be met.

"Proper checks and balances on the use of these powers will also be provided for in order to preserve the principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy.

"It is now ten years since the passage of Labour's Learning for Life reforms that established the current tertiary governance and accountability framework. The new Labour-Alliance Government wants to ensure that our institutions are well managed to meet the changing needs of New Zealand's society and economy this century," Steve Maharey said.

Ends

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