The Labour Party’s Nanaia Mahuta has drafted a private member’s bill that would, if passed repeal the government’s recent changes to polytechnic councils.
In 2009 the government passed law removing staff, student and community representation on polytechnic councils, reducing the size of councils and giving the minister of tertiary education the right to appoint a majority of councillors on each council.
The new bill proposes simply to delete the 2009 law and revert to the previous system.
TEU national president Sandra Grey says it is a relevant time to have a debate about the success or failure of those 2009 changes, given the government’s intention to impose similar changes on university councils.
“It’s certainly TEU’s goal to see staff and student representation restored to councils, and importantly to restore a greater degree of independence for councils from the minister than they currently have.”
Sandra Grey says the bill, if it is drawn from the ballot and reaches select committee is a starting point for identifying the democratic principles by which we want councils to abide.
“Communities deserve a say in how their tertiary institutions are run, and staff provide in-depth knowledge valuable in decision making. A select committee process for this private member’s bill will allow proper discussion of just how crucial these elements are.”