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Nelson MP Nick Smith is shocked by the detail of a leaked Cabinet paper to be considered on Monday and its implications for the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

“This leaked Cabinet paper is a shocker and is much worse than I expected. It spells the end of our Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. It has the NMIT Board being sacked on day one, all the cash reserves and land assets being controlled from Wellington and the separate NMIT identity being dissolved in 2021.”

“This proposal to nationalise NMIT into a single national polytechnic is a disaster for Nelson. We have had our own polytechnic for 115 years run by capable industry and community leaders. The regions always miss out when services are nationalised.

“The irony of this reform is that it is the very large polytechnics like AUT that are in financial trouble yet the Government thinks the answer is one huge national wide polytechnic. The Government and large institutions like AUT want to get access to NMIT’s cash reserves to bail them out of trouble but at the detriment of regions like ours.”

“The long term implications for Nelson of NMIT being nationalised is fewer courses being available locally, less responsiveness to the skill needs of local industry, fewer staff being employed and a reduction in the number of international students.”   

“I am particularly angry that this leaked Cabinet paper shows that Government is completely ignoring Nelson’s concerns over control of the land originally donated by Nelson Council and ratepayers and NMIT $20 million cash reserves.

“My message to Cabinet is to back off from this regional asset grab. I know how important NMIT is to Nelson and I will fight this ideological centralisation every step of the way.

“National will fight these reforms, we will fight for regional New Zealand and we will fight against ideological educational reforms. We will return polytechnic decision making back to communities and the regions.”

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