Tai Poutini Polytechnic investigation
Media release –28 February 2018
The West Coast’s Tai Poutini Polytechnic failed to deliver enough training hours across a range of courses between 2010
and 2015, an investigation by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) released today shows.
The release of the report follows the Government’s announcement to defer a decision on a business case for the South
Island-based polytechnic and commit $8.5 million to funding it this year while further work is done around the future of
New Zealand’s institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITPs).
Tai Poutini Polytechnic has had a Crown Manager since late 2016 due to concerns around its financial stability. The TEC
earlier launched its investigation in February that year after a TEC audit raised concerns about several programmes.
Dean Winter, the TEC’s monitoring and Crown ownership manager, says the investigation shows Tai Poutini Polytechnic
delivered far fewer hours than required across several courses between 2010 and 2015.
The programmes reviewed were in scaffolding, search and rescue, and other areas including quarrying, mining, crane
operations, and occupational safety and health.
“In some of the scaffolding programmes, students were receiving as little as 10 percent of the teaching hours they were
meant to. That means that that in a course where students were expected to receive nearly 200 hours of training, they
only did 20.”
Students’ qualifications have been assessed by NZQA and are still valid as students acquired the required knowledge and
skills despite TPP not delivering the agreed form of learning. The investigation findings are historical and do not
reflect the current practice at the polytech.
Due to Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s financial difficulties it is not able to repay funding and the TEC is not seeking any
return of the approximately $21.2 million of under-delivery between 2010 and 2015. The TEC is also not seeking repayment
for $3.65 million for under-delivery TPP accrued in 2016 for delivering training to fewer students than planned.
Tai Poutini Polytechnic is in a unique position delivering education in a relatively isolated area of the country.
Students and employers on the West Coast need access to high-quality education and supporting that is a high priority
for the TEC. The Government is working to address broader financial viability and sustainability challenges across the
Tai Poutini Polytechnic, along with the TEC, has taken steps to address any risk of this type of learning under-delivery