Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie is congratulating the Ministry of Education for reconsidering its programme of consultation and sending the review panel to Southland so our community can have its say.

“National was informed last week that the consultation review panel would only travel as far south as Christchurch, despite the Government considering massive changes to the Polytechnic sector which could drastically affect the Southern Institute of Technology.

“The panel has today announced it will be coming to Southland. I commend them for this turn around.

“Education Minister Chris Hipkins has been very defensive with me about this on social media. The amount of time he’s spent trying to argue with me on Facebook and Twitter would have been better spent out in the community talking to the people who will be impacted by these reforms.

“While I’m grateful the panel will be visiting Invercargill, my offer remains open to the Minister to come to Southland and hear from our community about an issue we feel so strongly about as he is yet to confirm whether he will visit with the panel.

“I also encourage the Minister to extend the consultation period to longer than the six weeks he’s put aside.

“Invercargill is rightly proud of SIT. SIT feeds into our Southland Regional Development Strategy to attract 10,000 more people to Southland by 2025 and has helped diversify our community. It’s important that the Minister comes here and see this success for himself.”

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