The Tertiary Education Union (TEU) has slammed the Government
for making what it calls "drastic" cuts to polytechnic
Figures reveal Aoraki Polytechnic was the worst hit, with its
funding slashed by almost 20%.
Financials from the 12 polytechnics that have released 2011
annual reports showed government grants last year fell by an
average of 4.4%, or $17 million, from 2010.
Six polytechnics are yet to release annual reports.
Nine of the 12 had their government funding cut, with Aoraki
Polytechnic - which has campuses in Timaru, Ashburton,
Oamaru, Christchurch and Dunedin - the worst hit.
Its funding dropped 19.31%, from $21.4 million in 2010 to
$17.26 million last year.
Otago Polytechnic's funding was cut by 6.69%, from $33.44
million in 2010 to $31.2 million last year.
TEU national president Sandra Grey said the "drastic" cuts
would deny people in regional communities the chance to train
"Students in our regions should not see their polytechnics
cut back and their learning opportunities diminished," Dr
The drop in funding at Aoraki Polytechnic came as it cut 11
of its course programmes this year, resulting in 11 job
losses - including four from its Dunedin campus and one in
Aoraki Polytechnic chief executive Kay Nelson said in the
polytechnic's annual report the cut presented "a major
challenge" for the institution and was a large reason why it
recorded a $1.6 million loss last year, its first deficit in
"This reduction in funding had serious consequences for our
financial position, particularly during a time of ongoing
change and consolidation of Aoraki Polytechnic operations,"
Otago Polytechnic recorded an operating surplus of $3.34
million last year - its largest - despite the drop in
A spokeswoman for Minister for Tertiary Education Steven
Joyce said the institutes of technology and polytechnics
(ITP) sector was in the "best shape it has ever been in".
"Although funding has been shifted around the tertiary
education system, the ITPs have responded well to the
challenges, with improved educational, as well as financial
performance," she said.
She said Dr Grey's comments were "blatantly incorrect" and
polytechnics had shifted their offerings to higher-quality
courses and qualifications better suited to labour needs.