Slight snag at parliamentary BBQ

Government MPs were served a low-key protest as they dished out sausages to Invercargill students.MPs (from left) Jan Logie, Sarah Dowie and Liz Craig met Southern Institute of Technology students at a barbecue during a parliamentary outreach programme visit


However, things took a slight turn when Invercargill Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt arrived and quietly raised concerns over the proposed polytechnic reform under
which 16 polytechnics would merge into one.

SIT student Geoff McClelland also expressed his concerns: "It feels sort of funny, your having this [event] to try and open up that Parliament is approachable
and all that, yet as a student, it feels like you’re rejecting my voice."

Green MP Jan Logie replied: "The thing is, when decisions are made, that takes time so it hasn’t been made yet." 

The MPs also visited two local schools, which included mock parliamentary chamber exercises, the first being whether or not school uniform should be banned.

Polytech leaders and the Stand Up for SIT Campaign believe the changes will rob the region of its educational autonomy.

SIT chief executive Penny Simmonds summed it up previously: "If this happens, major projects such as the Zero Fees 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."

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