SIT concerns Southland representation will be lost

The Government's polytechnic merger plan has raised big concerns in the Southland region.

While Otago Polytechnic is hopeful about the possibility of an ongoing parent-subsidiary arrangement, Southern Institute of Technology is worried.

The stop-gap step would be introduced in April 2020 and would last two years, unless Education Minister Chris Hipkins decided to extend it for some, or all, institutions on the advice of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.

SIT chief executive Penny Simmonds said her main concern was the board of any subsidiary being made up of people from outside Southland.

"If this happens, major projects such as the ZeroFee scheme, the Mayor Tim Shadbolt Accommodation and international bursaries could be affected. We would not have any advantage and this is part of our regional strength. We need to have people from Southland on the subsidiary.''

She said she would meet the SIT council this week to discuss the next steps, but at this stage, it had no intention of taking legal action.

Ms Simmonds said the mood was still pretty low and staff were worried about job losses.

"At this stage, everyone still have their jobs, but we cannot guarantee anything beyond that because it will be determined by the new entity.''

Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt said the Invercargill City Council was still discussing the options.

Stand Up for SIT campaign organiser Carla Forbes said it was talking to businesses in the region and all felt disappointed with the proposal.

She said Southland had its "gloves off'' and was ready to fight.

She was planning different action around the region, though it still needed to be approved by leaders.

"We will make sure our voices will be heard this time. Southland is mobilised to make some noise.''

luisa.girao@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

This Labour CoL Govt is trying to fix something that isn't broken most likely all they will succeed in doing is wrecking one of the most successful Institutes of Technology in New Zealand --- Let's do this...

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