The Government has been attacked for failing to protect more than 350 jobs set to be slashed at Canterbury University.
An internal document, outlining the university's finances for the next decade, proposes to cut staff numbers from 1947 to 1596 over the next three years.
The cuts would affect academic, general and technical staff.
The document lays the blame at the feet of the Government.
"The implicit message from the Tertiary Education Commission and the minister - that if the institution is willing to lead the way with cuts that could easily run to hundreds of jobs the state may invest in the university once more - is reprehensible."
Tertiary Education Union national president Sandra Grey said Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce's case to his Cabinet colleagues was "not strong enough to protect this important national and international asset".
"Cabinet plans to meet in Christchurch next Monday. It is essential that it act now to protect the university from these cuts," Grey said.
"The university is an essential public infrastructure. It has a key role to play in the next year helping the city rebuild. It cannot do that without government support."
- © Fairfax NZ News