Mayors of Hastings, Wairoa and Central Hawke’s Bay District Councils, the chair of the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, a representative from Napier City Council and the chief executive of Ngati Kahungunu Iwi have met this afternoon with the head of EIT, Chris Collins and EIT Council chair Geraldine Travers.
It follows Education Minister Chris Hipkins’ announcement last week that the country’s 16 polytechnics and institutes of technology will be disestablished and merged into one national institute.
The regional leaders say while they are very pleased EIT will be able to hold on to its strong financial reserves for the benefit of people in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti, there are still a number of concerns that need addressing.
The group have discussed the effect the establishment of a national polytech institute could have on the region.
There are concerns over the potential loss of control and the inability to be flexible to meet local educational needs.
The group say as a region, we need to make sure education remains affordable and accessible to all of our community and that our satellite polytech sites in smaller areas are not diminished.
The leaders say it’s essential that the Establishment Board supports the diversity of education programs across the whole region.
They say EIT has a proven track record – it is the only solvent polytech in New Zealand with strong financial management, delivery of high quality education and good governance. Therefore, the region must have meaningful leadership in the new structure proposed by the government.
They say Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti would be the ideal location for the national institute’s headquarters.
The region’s leaders will now be working with Minister Stuart Nash to put together a strong business case for the national headquarters and to get the government to visit Hawke’s Bay shortly.