Collaboration with National a bad look for Waikato.

Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union is dismayed to note the inappropriate extent to which Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato | The University of Waikato’s Vice Chancellor has been collaborating with the National Party on their policy for a third medical school.

A Radio New Zealand report this morning exposed a number of emails between Professor Quigley and National’s Shane Reti. Amongst other things, the Vice Chancellor described the potential for the first intake of students in 2027 as "a present to you to start your second term in government!"

TEU has previously criticised National’s policy as ‘pork barrel politics’ and an ineffective way to resolve either the crisis in tertiary education or the doctor shortage. These statements were made shortly after it was brought to light that Waikato University had spent almost a million dollars over the last 3 years for strategic advice from former Minister of Tertiary Education Steven Joyce.

Te Pou Ahurei | National Secretary Sandra Grey says all of our criticisms made three months ago still hold true. “This is not the right time to be setting up a new medical school. If the last year has proved anything it’s that the tertiary sector needs more cooperation not competition.”

“Most of the sector, including Waikato University, are experiencing a funding crisis, budget deficits that are causing redundancies as well as course and programme closures – the $380 million dollars’ worth of set-up costs alone this project would swallow up could be much better spent elsewhere.”

“We absolutely support training more doctors and other health professionals but It would be far more cost effective to expand provision for the two medical schools we already have.”

Kaiwhakahaere | Organiser at Waikato University Shane Vugler says “Professor Quigley and the National Party are being very irresponsible with taxpayer money. There appears to be no detailed costings or business case for this proposed project. Even National’s own caucus and ‘finance person’ have expressed doubts about the credibility of the numbers, yet they still plan to commit Aotearoa taxpayers to fund it.”

“When hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent, it’s important to follow due process in a transparent way.”

“This is a terrible look for an institution that is required by law to be the critic and conscience of society; and centred on evidence-based teaching and research.”

Media contact
Enzo Giordani
+64 21 221 4910