Govt gives $107m for Lincoln buildings, $0 for staff

Posted By TEU on Jul 24, 2014 |

Hau Taki Haere Vol 17 No 24

The government has agreed to give up to $107.5 million in capital funding toward the rebuilding of Lincoln University’s science facilities destroyed in the Canterbury earthquakes.

While welcoming the investment TEU national president Lesley Francey is asking was it worth the pain.

‘What are they intending to fill the new buildings with? It probably won’t be staff?”

Tertiary education, skills and employment minister Steven Joyce said Lincoln University suffered very significant damage in the Canterbury earthquakes.

“This money will assist the university with its rebuild programme and help it get back fully on its feet,” he said.

Lincoln University vice-chancellor Andrew West told the Christchurch Press last week’s announcement by the minister
made July 17 “without exaggeration” the most important day in the university’s history.

He thanked the government, and colleagues for making the investment happen through its reform to land-based courses and “arduous and emotionally gruelling”

“Lincoln University hasn’t sat back and waited for a hand-out, we ourselves have done the hard yards.”

“The future is bright, in fact it couldn’t be brighter.”

The hard yards Andrew West referred to included seven major rounds of restructuring and redundancies as the university attempts to cut about $4million from
its staffing budget and 7 percent of its staff.

TEU says while the money is crucial to rebuilding the university, so should be retaining good loyal staff.

“I know capital funding and staff funding are two separate things, but it speaks to the government’s and the university’s priorities that they do not have
$4 million to keep highly regarded staff, but they have over $100 million to build new offices,’ said Lesley Francey.

Lincoln University lost more than 40 per cent of its academic floor space in the Canterbury earthquakes, including much of its facilities for science teaching and research. The rebuild will involve demolishing the badly damaged Hilgendorf and Burns buildings, and replacing them with modern facilities.

The Government funding of up to $107.5 million is almost a third of the estimated cost of the total campus rebuild of $349 million. The funding is contingent on the university fully integrating its new facilities with the other major partners, DairyNZ, and Crown Research Institutes, in the new Lincoln Hub.

The government will make a first payment of $7.5 million to Lincoln University by the end of July this year, with up to an additional $100 million paid in instalments throughout the project. Lincoln expects construction to start next year and finish in 2018/19.

Also in Tertiary Update this week:

  1. Nurses petition for entry programme for new nurses
  2. Non-teaching staff claim to join AIS agreement
  3. Cleaners, kitchen and services staff want professional development
  4. TEU develops strategy to support Māori students
  5. Fight for 26 weeks paid parental leave to go on

Other news

Nominations are now open for the position of TEU national president. This is a two-year term as the elected national leader of TEU. Soon TEU will call for nominations for the three vice-presidents (Māori, women, and industrial and professional) and positions on the TEU council, national women’s committee and the industrial and professional committee – TEU

Tertiary education minister Steven Joyce has rejected a TEU call for the Government to stump up with extra cash to fund the University of Otago’s $650 million building programme. ”Unfortunately, my dear friends at the TEU say we should keep throwing money at everything every time.” – Otago Daily Times

A UCOL-run prison education programme has been pulled, and teaching staff are worried their jobs will be next. TEU branch president Tina Smith said there are staff that have been there for more than five years and they have worked hard and had some great successes, but now the programme has been ditched. “It’s nonsensical.” – Manawatu Standard

AgResearch is planning another round of redundancies amid accusations it is monitoring the communications of ”less than compliant” staff members – Otago Daily Times

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