Budget leak another humiliation for Te Pūkenga

Yet another embarrassing blunder for Chris Hipkins’ Te Pūkenga after confidential Budget 2023 figures were accidentally published and revealed that the mega merger is in need of another $330 million government-bail out, National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Penny Simmonds says.

“The figures, showing that a $330 million boost from Government is needed to complete the mega-merger process, were among several paragraphs marked for deletion in a ministerial briefing, which instead were made public.


“This is another embarrassment for Chris Hipkins’ Te Pūkenga, which clearly wanted to keep quiet their need for another multi-million-dollar government funding bail-out, in the hope that it might be lost amongst other Budget 2023 announcements.


“This mega-merger has already cost taxpayers $200 million in extra funding, which ran out at the end of last year, so these revelations for a bigger bail out are even more staggering.


“Mr Hipkins was warned by the sector that his centralised model wasn’t going to deliver better educational outcomes and be more financially viable, but he pushed ahead with it anyway. His ideological driven mega merger is now wasting a huge amount of taxpayers’ dollars, instead of focusing on what matters most – our young peoples education.


“This is yet another gaffe from Te Pūkenga whose public credibility is already unravelling fast, after the release of its embarrassing style guide and ban on staff freedom of speech hitting the headlines last week. This also follows the messy resignation of their chief executive last year, staff reeling against proposed curriculum changes and the prospects of job losses in the regions to help balance the books.


“These blunders are humiliating, but they also mean New Zealanders can have little confidence in this Labour Government’s ability to successfully manage the merger of the country’s polytechnics.


“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.”