Save Southland's SIT - Southern Institute of Technology

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Councillor Alex Crackett
Councillor Alex Crackett signed this petition

Millions of dollars have been taken out of the polytech sector over several years resulting in many institutions across the nation unable to sustain their current level of operation. As a result the government has proposed to merge 16 polytechnics into a single centralised national institute, creating a New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, including Southern Institute of Technology (SIT).

This has the potential to devastate our Southland community and economy. This year, 5400 students are studying at SIT and 1000 of them are international students. Under this new proposal, all international students would be managed centrally.

SIT consistently punches above its weight and is not one of the institutes around the country that is currently failing. In fact, SIT is regarded as one of the most successful and innovative Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITP) in the country.

SIT reported a $4 million surplus in 2017 and holds significant reserves, all which have the potential to be swept up in the proposed centralised entity. SIT has continually employed new initiatives and adjustments within the changing climate of the education sector in order to not just survive, but to thrive.

Our businesses, population and diverse community will suffer for the rest of the sector's inability to adapt. This proposal could also result in significant job losses, with SIT CEO Penny Simmonds expecting upward of 30 job losses overnight.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has said the proposal "looks potentially damaging for SIT and Southland, but we have to keep an open mind about that".

"It's a very big game changer for Invercargill, for housing, employment, and businesses."

It's deeply concerning that the Minister for Education has openly admitted that this proposal could damage the region, yet the proposal continues to be on the table. For one of the region's biggest economic indicators to be threatened, and this to be acknowledged by the minister, is to threaten the viability of Southland as a place for business and communities to thrive.

This petition will be delivered to Education Minister Chris Hipkins. Please sign to fight this merger!