24 Jun 2016

Polytech loses bid to get whistle-blower's documents

1:15 pm on 24 June 2016

A Taranaki polytech has failed in its bid to force a former employee to reveal details of a disclosure about it made under the whistleblowers' act.

The Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT) claims Christine Fenton used material in the disclosure to the Qualifications Authority and the Tertiary Education Commission that should have been returned when she left its employment.

The WITT wanted the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) to allow it to see the disclosure.

Dr Fenton's legal team said she had returned all Institute property and the information she released was covered by the Protected Disclosures Act.

The ERA found that the Institute should not have known Dr Fenton was the author of the disclosure and ruled the polytech could not see it.

Following an investigation, in 2014 the Institute was forced to withdraw hundreds of qualifications and repay more than $4 million in government funding.

Following a lengthy investigation, in 2014 WITT was forced to withdraw hundreds of Maori Performing Arts qualifications and repay more than $4 million in government funding.

Students had allegedly graduated without completing the required coursework.

WITT and Dr Fenton remain in mediation over another employment dispute.

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