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The leaked Cabinet paper on reforming the polytechnic sector shows 80 per cent of public submissions are against the idea of one mega polytechnic, National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Dr Shane Reti says.

“The reforms will see regional polytechnics renamed as subsidiaries of a newly formed statutory entity called New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST). However most public submissions are against the idea.

“Despite this, it looks as though Education Minister Chris Hipkins will forge ahead with the proposal anyway.

“Even more would oppose the change if they had known the cash and community assets grab this new mega polytechnic will take from individual polytechnics like SIT and Otago Polytech.

“The Cabinet document shows that NZIST will have all but two of the 8-12 board members appointed by the Education Minister. It also details that cash reserves that have been hard earned by individual polytechnics will be consolidated into a regional fund held by NZIST head office.

“Not only will the cash be taken by head office, but head office will decide how it is spent by ‘prioritising those regional operations that should be able to access cash’.

“Taking community assets is a slap in the face for fundraising communities, philanthropists and volunteers who have worked very hard over the years to support their local polytechnic.

“National will return polytechnic assets taken by Labour and give them back to the communities. We will fight for regional New Zealand.”

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