Waiariki and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic (BOPP) believe their best option is to merge into a new single institution.
Following an first strategic assessment the two polytechnics wrote to TEU advising that they would start consulting formally on their plan to merge.
They are now consulting with staff, students, iwi and other stakeholders until 4 August.
Following that they will present a plan to the minister for tertiary education and enter a statutory consultation process.
In an open letter to staff the two polytechnics say a merger will remove unnecessary competition, boundary disputes and unevenness of service provision to the wider region.
The polytechnics say that staff at both institutions will initially transfer to the new institution on existing terms and conditions of employment. TEU has written to the two chief executives seeking clarification that this will be under their collective agreements.
Currently-enrolled students will continue to be offered the courses and qualifications for which they enrolled.
TEU national industrial officer Irena Brorens says she is pleased that proposed merger’s main focus is on improving students’ access and participation in the Bay of Plenty rather than on streamlining services and reducing costs.
She also says the new entity’s commitment to engaging with local iwi is crucial to its success.
“TEU is working with Waiariki and BOPP right from the start of this process,” says Brorens.
“We want to make sure all staff keep their jobs and their pay and their employment conditions. We also believe that after the merger students in the Bay of Plenty must have more opportunities to learn, not fewer.”