No celebration on Te Pūkenga's third birthday

There is little to celebrate on Te Pūkenga’s third birthday today as the shambolic entity still doesn’t have an operating model and is hurting New Zealand’s vocational sector, National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Penny Simmonds says. 

“After three years, it is shameful that Te Pūkenga still doesn’t have an operating model and remains completely directionless.

“Te Pūkenga has been a disaster from day one and it’s no surprise that the Auditor General has said that its lack of an operating model could ‘affect public trust and confidence in the organisation.’ 

“All of this is taking a significant toll on Te Pūkenga, with staff morale at an all-time low, student enrolments plummeting by ten per cent, and the organisation looking down the barrel of a $63 million deficit.

“When I raised these concerns with the Education Minister in Parliament last week, Jan Tinetti said she expected Te Pūkenga’s operating model would just ‘evolve over time, once the organisation matures.’

“This is a ridiculous proposition. Since it was established on 1 April 2020, Te Pūkenga’s lack of an operating model has only dogged its progress.

“In a report looking at the progress of vocational education reforms, the Auditor General’s office said that ‘by now we expected Te Pūkenga to be clear on the outcomes it was looking to achieve and by when.’ 

“This lack of accountability is an insult to staff, students and taxpayers who’ve already spent $200 million funding a Crown entity that has only made New Zealand’s vocational sector worse.

“On its third birthday, it couldn’t be clearer that the centralised Te Pūkenga polytechnic mega-merger is a failure. A National Government would stop the centralisation of the polytechnic sector and focus on educational outcomes for our students.”