21 Dec News Fri 21/12 – Taratahi Liquidation.
Posted at 08:04h in Uncategorised 0 Comments
Our final post for the year should be on Monday Dec 24.
Policy, Management & People
- Taratahi Liquidation Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre was placed into liquidation on Wednesday, which was announced by liquidator Grant Thornton yesterday. The cause was said to be an unsustainable operating model. It had also been selling assets to pay off a $7.5m debt to TEC after under-delivery/rorts (see our 2015 report) Taratahi is the largest primary-sector provider in the country and is registered as a PTE, even though it is a public organisation, covered by its own act. Both the Ministers of Agriculture and Education have oversight roles (even if they tended to downplay that yesterday!). Taratahi recently took on the role of delivery at the Telford Farm, the other long-term primary sector provider.
- Taratahi Response Ministers Chris Hipkins and Damien O’Connor said that Taratahi was a PTE, but that the Government was working with agencies to support students and was seeking to secure the home farm. They also said they were looking at new models of provision. National MPs Paula Bennett and Nathan Guy accused the Government of turning its back on a Taratahi request for $4m of cashflow support. NZ First’s Mark Patterson wanted to ensure continued delivery at Telford (he’s from Otago). The TEU supported the staff and said that the liquidation emphasised the need for a proper plan for vocational education. NZQA and TEC put out their normal statements for students. Farmers Weekly reported that TEC had offered Taratahi considerably less funding for 2019. There was also coverage by the ODT (focusing on Telford), Stuff, NZ Herald, Newshub and BusinessDesk.
- Our View on Taratahi There will be more to come on the liquidation, as Ministers will have had considerable advice and considered options. The key farms involved are also long-term public assets, so solutions will probably involve them. As the year ends, the whole episode is a reminder of how fragile many vocational education providers are, and the choices facing Ministers about which ones they choose to bail out (they bailed out a good few ITPs this year).
- Brash Ban Stuff reported that Massey Uni VC Jan Thomas was cleared of wrongdoing over the Brash speech cancellation by a commissioned report.
- AUT Fire AUT gave an update on what is open and what isn’t as they clean up after a fire.
- Immigration Rorts Stuff reported on immigration rorts, saying along the way that the education system was implicated in them (using the term “education trafficking”).
- Female Professors The ODT reported on the slow growth of female professor numbers at Otago Uni.
Research & Innovation
- Endeavour MBIE updated its FAQs for the 2019 Endeavour Fund round, adding an answer on the R&D Tax Incentive.
- Sport Tauranga City Council approved an arrangement with Waikato Uni for running the Adams Centre for High Performance (in sport).