University of Otago vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne
censured a group of MPs when she spoke at a parliamentary
select committee this week.
Prof Hayne said members of the education and science select
committee did not pay adequate attention when listening to
her and other people making submissions on the Education
Amendment Bill, Radio New Zealand reported.
Universities and students' associations have labelled the
Bill - which includes decreasing the size of university
councils - as an attack on democracy and an attempt by the
Government to gain increased control over universities.
Labour tertiary education spokesman and committee member
Maryan Street told the Otago Daily Times Prof Hayne had every
right to feel aggrieved as National MPs on the committee had
lost interest after hearing concerns about the Bill from
about 300 submitters.
''The Nats are switching off. Generally, there is only one or
two of the National party MPs present who pay any attention
at all,'' Ms Street said.
This prompted Ms Street to apologise to Prof Hayne for the
way she had been treated by the committee - something she
felt the chairman, National MP Cam Calder, should have done.
Prof Hayne made the comments when taking part in a second
submission on behalf of Universities New Zealand on
Wednesday, after submitting on behalf of Otago University a
She told MPs on the committee they displayed a poor attitude
when listening to her and students' associations submissions
''As an academic who has spent more than 20 years in the
classroom listening to and working with young people, I was
very disheartened by the dismissive and cavalier way in which
they were treated.''
Mr Calder disagreed with Prof Hayne's and Ms Street's
comments, saying all submitters were treated with ''courtesy
''We value the democratic process,'' he said.
Prof Hayne said yesterday said she did not want her ''opening
comments to detract from the substance'' her submission.
The ''most important thing'' she had to say was about the
proposed changes to the legislation. ''From time to time, we
can all benefit from feedback on how we are perceived by
''I provided that feedback and the select committee responded
positively to correct it.
''Now, we need to get back to the matter at hand, which is
the change to legislation,'' she said.