Union tells Mayor to get his facts straight
The National Secretary of the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE) Te Hau Takitini o Aotearoa Ms Sharn
Riggs said today that it was time Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt got his facts right about the funding for SIT.
"ASTE's members are the academic staff at SIT and they know that the claims CEO Penny Simmonds has been making regarding
the staircasing of SIT's distance learning students onto courses at the Invercargill campus are nonsense" Ms Riggs said.
"Enrolments on traditional on-campus courses have fallen as the institution has increased its focus on distance
learning. Not only that, other ITPs are reporting their concerns about the impact these courses are having on their own
enrolments - these are not new students and our members know that very few of them will ever end up contributing to the
Invercargill economy because they will never go there".
She went on to say that SIT had been told consistently by the Tertiary Education Commission to stop its growth in areas
where there was little value or duplication.
"The failure of the management of the Polytechnic to take on board the changes signalled by the reforms and to accept
that collaboration and cooperation would be taking the place of competition and unjustifiable growth is demonstrated by
the fact that Penny Simmonds refuses to open the Polytechnic's books to the TEC", Ms Riggs said.
"This is taxpayers' money that the polytechnic is refusing to be accountable for" she continued, "and it is not
acceptable that a public institution funded from public money should be allowed to conduct its business in secret". Ms
Riggs said that these were legitimate questions that the TEC is entitled to have answered.
"While we are obviously concerned about the job security of our members across the whole of the ITP sector, we have been
saying since 2000 that unless competition is taken out of the mix the quality of programmes and the standing of the
sector will be at risk" Ms Riggs said.
"This situation should not be allowed to continue and CEs like Penny Simmonds and mayors like Tim Shadbolt as
significant leaders in their communities should stop attacking changes that should have been brought in years ago", she