INDEPENDENT NEWS

Students Suffer While Vice Chancellor Sidesteps

Published: Mon 6 May 2024 01:20 PM
In an extraordinary step, Auditor-General John Ryan has written an open letter to Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato | The University of Waikato Chancellor Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand to make serious criticisms of the university’s procurement processes.
The Auditor General says his office has “not been provided with any formal record, such as a business case or procurement plan (or equivalent document), that sets out the services that were needed and how the procurement would be done. We have also not been provided with a satisfactory explanation or analysis and documentation to support the Vice-Chancellor’s view that the contractor was the only suitable option to deliver the services.”
Te Hautū Kahurangi | Tertiary Education Union Kaiwhakahaere | Organiser Shane Vugler shares the Auditor General’s concerns. “Procurement policies and processes are there to protect universities and state sector organisations from accusations of corruption and/or reputational a damage from the perception of corruption.”
“When a Vice Chancellor uses his power, as the Auditor General puts it, “to put the usual [procurement] processes to one side” then as a consequence he puts the university’s integrity and reputation at risk.”
“While the university continues to pay Joyce Advisory Limited undisclosed sums of money for undocumented services and outcomes, he is cutting $6-7 million out of the university’s personnel costs. These cuts undermine the scope and quality of programmes we are able to deliver to students at the University of Waikato. They also significantly increase workloads of staff at a time when student numbers have increased significantly.”
TEU members call on the Chancellor to take action, particularly in light of the Auditor General’s damning observation that “the University does not seem to appreciate that it is accountable to Parliament and the public for whether it has followed appropriate processes when spending public money.”
Vugler says “it’s time for the Vice Chancellor to be held accountable.”
TEU will follow up with the Minister, TEC and the Chancellor to clarify next steps.

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