Wanganui Regional Polytechnic difficulties

  • Wyatt Creech

The Wanganui Regional Polytechnic has been instructed to take a series of specified steps to protect the institutions future, following recent discussions with the Government.

The actions are designed to ensure the continuation of tertiary education in the Wanganui region, and follow a review of the polytechnics operations by independent consultants Ernst and Young.

The report identified problems with the institutions strategic direction, governance and financial management.

Education Minister Wyatt Creech said today the review indicated that the polytechnics difficulties stemmed from its decision to expand without having enough resources to support or sustain the growth.

Further, the council had borrowed money, raised a mortgage and sold land and buildings, all without the prior approval of the Secretary for Education, which was a legal requirement of any one of these activities.

The consultants believe the polytechnic will be able to trade its way out of its current position with the adoption of the new measures and other changes already being made by the institution.

The polytechnic has undertaken many quality programmes such as art and design and Te Rangakura primary pre-service teacher education programme. The Government is committed to supporting high quality education programmes such as these in regional centres.

Mr Creech said he had gained approval from the Treasurer and the Finance Minister for the following actions to be put in place as soon as possible to ensure that the polytechnic remains viable:

An independent observer will be appointed to the polytechnics council to monitor its financial situation, to provide advice to the polytechnic and to provide advice to the Government.

The Minister of Education will appoint two people with business and financial skills to current vacancies on the polytechnics council, as Ministerial nominees.

The polytechnic has been advised to strengthen its internal financial expertise.

The council and management of the polytechnic will implement agreed financial and operational performance measures.
Mr Creech said the Secretary for Education had been asked to monitor the polytechnics financial performance very closely over the next twelve months.