Te Pūkenga halts transformation amid new govt instructions

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
Super-institute Te Pūkenga has halted its multimillion-dollar transformation and the fate of hundreds of staff is in limbo.

The organisation's chief executive, Peter Winder, today told staff the new government had sent new instructions for the organisation, which combined 16 polytechnics and nine workplace training providers on January 1 this year.

The government did not want a centralised organisation for vocational education and training but it would take time to come up with a replacement plan, Winder said.

In the meantime, Te Pūkenga was halting an IT restructure and recruitment for newly created positions.

Winder said the institute was considering what the change of direction meant for recently hired staff and those due to be made redundant next year and this month.

"Our immediate focus is to work through what this change of direction means for the newly established roles to which we have made appointments, and to the roles that have been disestablished," Winder's message said.

"For kaimahi with finish dates in December, we will communicate directly and provide advice as soon as possible. For other kaimahi, given the timeframes, unfortunately this will not be before Christmas."

The government had told Te Pūkenga that disestablishing it would require legislative change and "Cabinet decisions on the disestablishment process and the configuration of the future network".

In September, the institute announced restructuring that would result in the net loss of about 200 jobs effective from April next year.

However, some jobs were due to end this month.

Te Pūkenga was created by the previous government as part of wider reforms of the vocational education system.

It attracted criticism for slow progress in establishing itself and for large deficits from its polytechnic operations.