Leaderless, well behind schedule, and sinking into a $110 million black hole.
This could describe almost any part of Government, but in this case it is Chris Hipkins’ merger of all the polytechnics into one.
Dudgeon’s grim memo to Hipkins – which is dated May 16 but was published on the commission’s website late last week – sets out the details of Te Pūkenga’s troubles in stark detail.
The organisation’s financial situation was a “significant concern”, with the Te Pūkenga group forecasting an at-least $110m full-year deficit.
“This is $53.5m worse than budget ($56.5m deficit) and is predominantly due to lower provider-based enrolments,” she said.
A $110 million deficit. And the rationale for the mega merger was that the sector lost $53 million in 2017. So what Hipkins claimed was the solution has led to it doubling.
Some parts of the memo deemed commercially sensitive had been censored before release, including mention of a figure that the $110m deficit could further balloon, due to “rising cost pressures”.
Of course it will increase.
The 2021 annual report also showed one employee – evidently the chief executive – was earning an income of between $670,000 and $679,999.
By comparison, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is earning $471,049.
A further five Te Pūkenga employees are earning between $380,000 and $451,000.
I may be wrong but I’m sure no one was earning that at the old polytechs.