Lincoln lukewarm on idea of merger

Lincoln University has poured cold water on the possibility of a merger with Massey University after Massey vice-chancellor Steve Maharey floated the idea on national television.

Speaking on Q+A on Sunday, Mr Maharey said Massey's door was open to Lincoln if it was interested in discussing a merger.

But the appetite for such a move in the small Canterbury town appears to be low, with Lincoln University assistant vice-chancellor Jeremy Baker confirming yesterday no merger discussions were taking place between the country's two largest agriculture tertiary providers.

The two universities worked together on ventures when necessary, but Mr Baker said there were positives in remaining independent from Massey.

"There is a need in New Zealand, and the world, for more qualified graduates with skills in agriculture, horticulture and other land-based sectors.

"Having the two institutions gives students the option to choose where they wish to study, in an environment that suits their needs."

Mr Maharey said the proposition of a merger was on the table for Lincoln to consider.

"They're a very proud, independent university with a long history.

"So they are wanting to make sure that they do everything they can to remain as they want to be, which is an independent university.

"But from our point of view, numerous people have approached us to say, ‘What would you do about this? Would you be open to it?'."

Massey University refused to elaborate on Mr Maharey's comments yesterday.

Manawatu Standard