Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce’s arrogant dismissal of criticism about his cuts to student, staff and community representation on university councils can’t hide a vindictive, ideological policy, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says.
“Steven Joyce said on radio this morning that if he is upsetting so many people he must be getting something right on university governance.
“This kind of breath-taking arrogance can’t cover for that fact the policy is deeply flawed and does not have support in the community.
“The legislation proposed by the Minister is not being endorsed by most universities and our two biggest universities – Auckland and Otago – oppose the policy outright.
“Universities value having broad representation that reflects the community they serve. Steven Joyce has simply dismissed their views.
“The best he can say is that smaller councils will make quicker and better decisions. Yet there is no evidence to support his claim. If it were true, I look forward to the Minister proposing a reduction in the size of Cabinet from eight to twelve.
“This policy is based on ideology without evidence. It applies a narrow, outdated view of what is good governance that is not relevant to universities.
“Steven Joyce is simply dealing to his critics by shutting them out of representation. Such high-handed dismissal is sadly becoming the Minister’s trademark,” Grant Robertson says.