NZIST deficit shows Govt shouldn’t be pushing ahead

The New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) is moving faster towards full amalgamation than was first anticipated to cover up its large deficit, National’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Simeon Brown says.

“Due to falling international student numbers and the pandemic, the NZIST is facing a large deficit, and is intending on using its balance sheet to cover it.

“There is now a growing threat to regional assets in order to pay for it. Closing Auckland campuses to save $5 million won’t fill the $80 million hole that is expected this year and $114m loss in 2021.

“On top of that, the NZIST has already recently received $121 million bail out from the Government and a further $276 million for managing the reforms, with most of that $276 million going to establishing multiple workforce development councils and regional leadership groups with more management layers.

“This is a huge amount of money to be spending on management especially when we’re facing down a significant economic crisis.

“Any changes need to be postponed while we’re in a disruptive pandemic and full financial transparency should be given to the financial situation of our Polytech sector. We’re seeing a growth in middle management at the expense of front line staff, with six Deputy Chief Executives recently appointed to the NZIST.

“It’s clear the Government shouldn’t be pushing ahead with these expensive reforms at pace during a pandemic.

“National vigorously opposed the Government’s Reform of Vocation Education. We would return regional education back to the regions, and return assets taken by this Government back to the regions.”