New process for changing a university’s name

  • Hon Chris Hipkins

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins today introduced a Supplementary Order Paper to amend the process for changing the name of New Zealand universities under the Education Act 1989.

“I welcome Victoria University’s decision this week to keep its legal name – Victoria University of Wellington, and I look forward to the Government’s constructive relationship with the university continuing,” Chris Hipkins said.  

“The matter did serve to highlight an anomaly with the Education Act, which in my view needs to be fixed to make the decision-making for a university name change more robust by including the involvement of all members of Parliament.

“This would align the process for a university name change with the higher bar required for the disestablishment of universities in the Act.

“The Government has consulted with the Opposition and a new process is being proposed so that if a university wishes to change its legal name:

  • it must notify the Education Minister in writing of its proposal;
  • the Minister must present the proposal by way of resolution to the House of Representatives;
  • the House approves or declines the proposed name change by resolution of the House; and
  • if the House passes a resolution approving the name change, the Minister issues a Gazette notice to that effect.

This process will only apply to universities, not to other tertiary education institutions.

The SOP inserts a new clause into the Education Amendment Bill (No 2), which is being debated in the House this week.