Te Hautū Kahurangi|Tertiary Education Union welcomes the real money Budget 2021 injects into vocational education and training. VET spending will increase by $279.5 million over the next three years. Wānanga also benefit from a $44 million boost over the same period, however it’s disappointing to see university sector spending remain static.

For TEU Tumu Whakarae | National President Tina Smith the victory is bittersweet: “TEU has spent the past five years campaigning hard for increased polytechnic and wānanga funding to stem the tide of course closures, diminished services and the loss of loved educators, researchers and support staff.  Too many staff have been lost to redundancies and burnout from crippling workloads. It’s wonderful to see our members voices finally being heard even if it has come too late to save far too many programmes and staff.”

For the universities, once again, funding does not bridge the gap with increased costs over the past decade. Tina Smith says “We have told successive governments that the system is stretched beyond breaking point for decades, yet still they stretch us further. Students and staff in the university sector need relief from the constant pressure created by under resourcing, understaffing and managerialism if they are to improve their wellbeing.”

And despite the funding increases, the mode of distribution is still broken. “Institutions continue to waste resources competing for students while the market driven Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF) remains resource intensive and does not serve the needs of Māori staff and wānanga” Tina Smith said.

For students, the reintroduction of the Training Incentive Allowance is welcome, however, NZUSA National President Andrew Lessells says that many have missed out: “Postgrad and mature students are still expected to live on food parcels. While the Student Allowance will increase by $25 in 2022, this does not even keep track with main benefit increases. Students who are facing hardship have yet again been forgotten. We’re extremely disappointed that there is no significant funding to student wellbeing, given the Government’s commitment to the Code of Learner Wellbeing and Safety which will place real costs and pressure on staff in the sector”.

Overall, tertiary education has had a good day, but more work needs to be done.

NZUSA, VUWSA, MAWSA, and TEU invite you to a post-budget BBQ brekkie, 11am, Saturday May 22, The Hub – Victoria University | Te Herenga Waka


Tina Smith, TEU Tumu Whakarae | National President, 027 222 7166

Andrew Lessells, NZUSA National President, 027 895 9928

Enzo Giordani, Communications and Campaigns Officer, 021 221 4910