ITP sector deficit doubles since Govt mega-merger

The Government’s much-lauded polytechnic mega-merger is failing to deliver on its promised financial efficiencies, National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Penny Simmonds says.

“The 2022 net financial deficit forecast for Te Pūkenga during its third year of transition is $110 million. That is more than double the $48 million deficit posted by the country’s ITP sector at the end of 2019 - prior to the reforms.

“This is a horrendous waste of taxpayers’ money and it reinforces National’s concerns that the Labour Government’s plans to merge the Polytechnic sector together would not address the financial viability issues.

“In a 2019 cabinet paper, Education Minister Chris Hipkins claimed that these reforms would ‘address the ITP sector’s current financial issues.’

“But instead, what we have seen is $120 million in spending, huge increases in bureaucracy and 149 new bureaucrats added at head office on top of a $110 million deficit forecast.

“There’s been a total lack of accountability and the Tertiary Education Commission has expressed concern to the Minister that Te Pūkenga is not meeting the expectations 'to improve efficiency and effectiveness'.

“We have already heard concerns from the Auditor General that Te Pūkenga is not addressing the underlying problems around the financial viability of its network.

“This is clear evidence that Labour’s attempts to restructure New Zealand’s polytechnics and technical institutes are failing.”