23 Nov 2009

Tolley has too much power over polytechs - Labour

8:59 pm on 23 November 2009

The Labour Party says amendments made to a select committee report have given the Tertiary Education Minister too much power over the running of polytechnic councils.

The education and science committee report on polytech governance removes the guarantee of council seats for staff, student, industry and Maori representatives and establishes four contestable positions instead, with the rest directly appointed by the minister.

Labour's spokesperson for tertiary education, Maryan Street, says the minister, Anne Tolley, has alienated everybody with an interest in polytechs.

Polytechs should reflect the training needs of their region, Ms Street says, and removing guaranteed industry and community representatives won't achieve that.

Students' union says it was given assurance

The Union of Students' Associations says it's outraged by the move, which co-president Jordan King says is all the more perplexing because an assurance was given by the minister that student representation at council level was safe.

Mr King says there is also concern that the minister will have the power to remove any council member without explanation.