SIT job losses as Te Pukenga moves to right deficit

Job losses are on the cards at SIT, as the Government comes clean on how it proposes to balance the books of its embattled industry training mega-merger Te Pukenga, Invercargill MP and National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Penny Simmonds says.

“Te Pukenga, which now runs the country’s polytechnics, is currently forecasting a $63m deficit for 2022 and on Friday afternoon its acting Chief Executive Peter Winder announced it wanted to make cuts of $25m at polytechnics and $10m across work-based learning, to make savings.

“In the Southern region that will effectively mean $2million in cuts at SIT and about $2.7million at Otago Polytechnic.

“I already know that staff cuts will be the most likely option here, with very little left in the system at SIT, after cost reductions and a freeze on employment was ordered by Te Pukenga earlier this year.

“These cuts will have a huge impact on our region and its employers, and are a slap in the face to the local staff who’ve maintained quality teaching, battled Covid and keep going in the face of uncertainty over the past three years of Te Pukenga restructuring.

“I’m absolutely disgusted at the Government’s mishandling of this mega-merger. I’m sad for the Southland staff who will now lose their jobs and I’m devastated at what Chris Hipkins has done to SIT and trades training in this province.

“The Government spent $200 million setting up Te Pukenga - where have the millions gone – and why, after three years of denial, is it only now being confirmed that Te Pukenga is all about increased head office bureaucracy and polytechnic jobs cuts in the places like Southland.

“Shockingly only “prudent” savings have been tagged at this time for Te Pukenga’s head office – with absolutely no real changes announced for the inefficient polytechnic’s who triggered this ill-fated mega-merger in the first place.

“At a time when Southland has critical labour shortages, our major vocational training institute is being stripped away by a Labour Government intent on pushing through its ideological changes, despite the immense and damaging effects it will have.”