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August 15, 2011 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

The Week That Wasn’t – Victoria To Be Privatised?

Victoria University of Wellington students this week were outraged to learn of National’s plan to alter the ownership of their university, following extensive meetings with the Vice-Chancellor, Paul Welch.

The details of the ‘change of hands’ deal were included in a broad proposal released to the press last Thursday covering National’s intentions for the tertiary education providers of New Zealand, which they would implement in their next term, if re-elected.
The proposal, while being vague as to whether the assets were to be sold to private companies or bought as national assets, included plans of privatising at least two of the country’s internationally respected universities, Victoria and Otago, and up to even as many as eight of the country’s well-regarded polytechs.

The project has not been exhaustively detailed in the face of the media, and political commentator Bronson Halliday has recommended that the National party go about remedying this uncertainty so as to quell the growing feeling of civil unrest, and to clarify whether it is that they will be privatising or nationalising the tertiary institutions in question.

“The current government are facing a lot of questions which need to be answered. Primarily, is Victoria currently private or is it a national asset? There’s been a lot of water-cooler talk here at the Dom Post and no one seems to be certain of the nature of the current situation.
Halliday went on, “regardless of whether the universities and polytechs are currently privately or nationally owned, I think one thing is clear, which is that if National are planning on buying them as national assets, or selling them off as private assets, it’s just going to be further proof that National are spineless bastards with no bloody idea on how to run a country.”

The public sentiment on the matter seems to consist of questions such as ‘what is nationalisation?’, ‘why is the government trying to rob me?’ and ‘if the University is privatised, will we be required to wear University uniforms, like at private schools?’

Conversely, Victoria’s Student Liaison Officers are scrambling to establish whether, if Victoria is already privatised, everyone should already be wearing uniforms, and whether that means that Victoria students will get an extra week of holidays in September.

[ssba]

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