Wellington, July 25, 2018
Education Minister Chris Hipkins has appointed Murray Strong to head Unitec as its Commissioner, after receiving the final submission from the Auckland-based institute of technology’s Council, which supported the move.
Mr Hipkins said that he was dissolving the Unitec Council and appointing Mr Strong to address Unitec’s financial difficulties.
Mr Hipkins issued the following Statement:
Unitec needs urgent and significant financial support and I believe that a Commissioner is needed to ensure both the Tertiary Education Commission and I have the oversight we need. Mr Strong is also the Government-appointed Crown Manager at Tai Poutini Polytechnic on the South Island’s West Coast.
He is extremely experienced in working with tertiary organisations.
As well as his role with Tai Poutini Polytechnic, he was the Commissioner appointed to the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki when it needed one in 2006.
His experience will be crucial to turning around Unitec’s financial situation and putting it on a sustainable path.
He is already playing a major role in the Government’s ITP 2020 Roadmap Project, which will ensure a sustainable and thriving network of institutions of technology and polytechnics around the country. This should give real confidence to students at staff about Unitec’s future.
Mr Strong will initially be supported by an independent financial advisor, who is already in place. An advisory group will be appointed by the Minister once the Commissioner has identified the skills and experience needed to support him in exercising his functions, duties and powers.
Unitec is facing a shortfall of approximately $19 million this year and $27 million in 2019 if no changes are made.
The Government is considering options to address Unitec’s financial issues.
Our message for students at this time is that the Government is committed to ensuring top quality vocational education and training is available at Unitec now and in the future.
Unitec Signage courtesy: Radio New Zealand (By Special Agreement)