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Reforms will destroy regional education and apprenticeships


21 June 2019

Tertiary reforms will destroy regional education and apprenticeships

Labour’s tertiary education reforms will be even wider than first thought and will strip power and assets from regional polytechnics, National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“The reforms will mean regional polytechnics will be renamed as subsidiaries of a newly formed statutory entity called New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST). After two years they will be amalgamated.

“National has obtained a Cabinet paper which outlines this information, the Government will take this paper to Cabinet on Monday.

“The polytechs will be controlled by a head office. They will have their cash and community legacy assets ring fenced at head office. All other assets including buildings and land will be taken away and consolidated.

“For high performing polytechs like the Southern Institute of Technology this will be devastating. Education Minister Chris Hipkins is pushing ahead with ideology over what is best for students and regional New Zealand. The paper shows enrolments will likely fall over the two year transition period and perhaps beyond that.

“More than a thousand jobs all over New Zealand will be lost.

“Subsidiaries will exist for two years before consolidation. Current boards will be sacked on day one, including local members and will be replaced by a subsidiary board, and regional leadership groups will be advisory only.

“There will no longer be out of region provision, like the Otago Polytechnic campus in Auckland. This has been a critical way of recruiting learners to the regions.

“The Cabinet paper also details that the industry body which looks after apprentices (ITOs) will be dissolved over a two year period. At the moment the industry organises placements for apprentices because they understand the needs of industry and who will be the best fit for them. That will now be taken from them and given to polytechs who won’t have the resources and skills to manage that.

“National has released this information because we believe these reforms will be disastrous for regional education and apprenticeships. We are bringing this information forward to try to stop the Government from going ahead with this.

“National will return polytechnic assets taken by Labour and give them back to communities. We will return polytechnic decision making back to communities and the regions. We will return apprentices to industry. Mr Hipkins should be addressing the problems where they are and leaving successful institutions alone.

“National will fight these reforms, we will fight for regional New Zealand and we will fight against idealistic educational reforms.”

Notes to editors: The following is a paragraph from the Cabinet paper.

Proposal

1. This paper seeks to reform New Zealand’s Vocational Education system, following public consultation.

2. This paper proposes to move from a system where vocational education is primarily split between eleven industry training organisations (ITOs) delivering work-based training and sixteen institutes of technology (ITPs) delivering provider-based training, to an integrated model where around 4-7 workforce development councils (WDCs) have oversight of all vocational education, which is primarily delivered by a single institution spread across a range of regional campuses. Provisionally titled the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, this institution would deliver both work-based and provider-based training. Wānanga and PTEs would continue to be important contributors to the system.

3. A companion paper sets out fiscal implications, and seeks agreement to initial appropriations to support the reforms.

4. A public-facing ‘change document’, a summary of submissions, a Regulatory Impact Assessment, and a Programme Business Case are all attached to this paper.

ends

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