Victoria University: Lack of government funding blamed for proposed job cuts


2023-05-26 07:55:20

Vic Uni sign

Victoria University / Te Herenga Waka is considering axing up to 260 of its staff due to a $33 million budget hole.
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Victoria University’s vice-chancellor says a lack of government funding is to blame for proposed job cuts.

The university is considering axing up to 260 of its staff due to a $33 million budget hole.

That number included up to 110 academic jobs – or about 13 percent of the university’s total academic workforce – its vice-chancellor Nic Smith told Morning Report.

He said the potential cuts were “extraordinary” and reflected the size of the deficit the organisation was facing.

“There’s no question it is a really significant and confronting number.”

Smith said it would be very difficult to achieve the necessary deficit reduction without job cuts.

“Unfortunately, in a university, a huge part of our revenue and a huge part of our cost is our people.”

Smith said there had been a 12 percent drop in enrolments but universities across the country had also been funded at about half the level of inflation over the past decade.

“So, in real terms there’s been a 20 percent drop in funding for institutions such as Te Herenga Waka.”

At the same time, he said, universities were being asked to do “significantly more than we were doing 10 years ago”.

“That comes to a head at some point and we’re starting to see that in other institutions as well.”

He said the university may have look at removing some subject areas from its offering altogether as it grappled with its financial situation.

“We’re going through a review process at the moment and we’re looking at the financial basis of some of our different teaching programmes and we’re also counterbalancing that with the really important function in university, which is the research contribution that different areas make.”

The formal consultation process would run from the end of June until the end of July, he said, with decisions to be made by mid-August.

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