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VUW Cuts Won’t Unclog The Covid Crisis

Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) has barely backed down from the controversial Whiria Project with further announcements regarding cost-cutting measures, signalling significant proposed job losses.

VUW has signalled a $33.5m deficit for 2021 and are now threatening “additional measures” to reduce the university’s workforce despite the State Services Commission providing guidance to universities to maintain restraint and retain jobs during Covid-19 – a factor that has also been previously supported by Minister Hipkins.

Government rules have changed and TEU is not convinced that the university is doing all it can to apply new approaches to prevent cuts, VUW needs to open its books to rethink its economic approach moving forward.

Where the tertiary sector is poised for a 2021 increase in student enrolments as Covid-effected New Zealanders retrain and upskill; cutting jobs at this juncture makes no sense in relation to rebuilding the future of all New Zealanders. Retaining people in jobs is a collective priority as we face uncertain times.

TEU co-branch President Dougal McNeill, has spoken out saying; “It is going to do significant damage to Victoria’s reputation, and its capacity to serve students and community, at a time when we are going to have increased domestic need.”

McNeill goes further stating; “We’re not talking here about some minor tinkering but deep, damaging cuts to the institution”

TEU warns that this recent announcement is untenable to members who are prepared to continue the fight to pushback against the latest announcement.

TEU National Secretary Sandra Grey states “any proposed job cuts won't help us deliver opportunities to kiwis; what we know for sure is there is a reliance on international student revenue due to a failed market approach to tertiary education which all politicians and industry leaders need to address immediately.”

“What Covid-19 has made crystal clear is the value of tertiary education and staff of tertiary education are now on the frontline of building back better.”

TEU challenges all decision makers in the tertiary sector to consider the future value and benefit of education to all New Zealanders before making any decisions to cut jobs or undermine the sector.

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