Te Pūkenga executive spend-up a low blow for staff

Te Pūkenga’s latest moves to employ highly paid co-leaders while polytechnic teaching and support staff face the chop is offensive, National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Penny Simmonds says.

“I’m astonished that in the wake of Te Pūkenga’s poor financial performance over the past three years, and at a time when the organisation is attempting to claw back on its over-spending, we’re seeing this largesse.

“Te Pūkenga is advertising for eight new co-leaders, each earning between $200,000 and $350,000 a year, while teaching and support staff at the mega polytechnic are on tenterhooks over future job losses.

“Acting chief executive Peter Winder last month announced a $63 million deficit. How can Te Pūkenga management justify this expenditure while at the same time taking the axe to vocational and trades education across the country?

“The extravagance of these new senior management co-leadership positions and their corresponding high salaries fly in the face of the dramatic cuts that everyday polytechnic staff are expected to make, with $10 million in savings from work-based learning and $25 million across former polytechnics being enforced.

“Employing highly paid co-leadership executives will do nothing for the already low staff morale and reflects a misguided view that these senior management positions are more important than teaching staff.

“Surely the Education Minister must be concerned about this reckless spending when he has recently asked Te Pūkenga to be more financially responsible.

“This is yet another example of the Labour Government’s fixation with centralisation, co-leadership and co-governance ideology, that’s strangling the regions and building a head office bureaucracy that is big in costs and little in value.

“It will do nothing to improve the serious skills shortage being felt around New Zealand, nor will it provide taxpayers with the reassurance that the Government’s polytechnic mega-merger is back on track.”


Media contact: Matt Young, 021 526 090