Union protests at funding cuts

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 23/11/2012
scott strand
ROBERT CHARLES
Union national organiser Dean Scott talks to students at the Witt campus.

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Tertiary Education Union members gathered in New Plymouth yesterday protesting against government funding cuts that will significantly affect the region's polytech.

The group met at Witt where they spoke to staff and students about the effects of the cuts on level 1 and 2 foundation courses.

A decision by the Government to tender one-third of its foundation course funding has seen private institutions receive funding at the expense of public institutions like Witt.

Witt chief executive Richard Handley has forecast the cuts will affect 70 student places and 10 staff members' jobs at the New Plymouth campus.

TEU national organiser Dean Scott was leading the protest yesterday which turned into a large and lengthy meeting at the Witt campus.

"We had planned to head into town to hand out leaflets but never got there because of how long talks at the campus took.

"We're happy with the turnout and there was a good conversation had about where to from here."

Mr Scott said future TEU plans included inviting New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young to speak to Witt staff and students.

Witt had suffered a turbulent past including financial issues but in recent years had turned itself around, he said.

"Witt is now a winner and Government is meant to back winners."

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