Return of staff to tertiary councils welcomed, but not enough
Plans announced by the government today to restore the legal right of staff and students to have representative on
Tertiary Education Institution councils will strengthen decision-making, ensuring it better reflects the demands of
teaching and learning, the Tertiary Education Union (TEU) said.
The Education Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament this afternoon by Education Minister Chris Hipkins will require
all universities, polytechnics and wānanga to have staff and student representatives as full members of their councils.
The changes are the result of years of campaigning by TEU members for staff to a have a greater say in the strategic
direction of their institutions.
The Bill, once passed into law, will primarily affect polytechnic councils, many of which removed staff and student
seats when the previous National-led Government scrapped the representation requirement. However, the TEU said the
legislation still needed to be strengthened if genuine democratic accountability is to be restored to all university,
polytechnic and wānanga councils.
Sandra Grey, national president of the Tertiary Education Union, said: “ These changes are credit to our members for not giving up in their campaign to have a much greater say in how their
institutions are run. They have known all along that the best results are achieved when staff, students, institutions
and the local community are collectively responsible for decisions about the teaching, learning and research that is
carried out at our institutions, and it is great to have a government that has finally listened.
“Whilst the government should be congratulated for taking this step, it is important to note that for us this is just
the start of a conversation. For representatives to properly reflect the needs of students, staff and the wider
community there needs to be more than just one representative of each group sitting on council. We will be calling on
the government to amend the Bill to allow for councils of 12 and 18 members, with one third of seats reserved for staff
and student representatives.”