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March 31, 2014 | by  | in News |
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The Chancellor speaks

Victoria Chancellor Ian McKinnon has confirmed that he will push to retain student representation on University Council through the University, but the number of student seats will likely drop.

Reforms to university governance are being pushed through under the Education Amendment Bill. The changes would see the size of the Council drop from 20 to a maximum of 12, and reduce requirements for student, staff and other stakeholder representation.

Speaking to Salient in a personal capacity, McKinnon said he supported the submission the Council had made on the bill, but also had his own views on the matter.

McKinnon said he supported the reforms inasmuch as he did not believe that stakeholder representation should be legislated for. He said he would support student representation on the University Council being enshrined in the University’s constitution.

“There will certainly be a student, the number is whether it will be two or one. All representation has to be reduced pro rata… I don’t buy that we need two student representatives, Sonya could paddle her canoe in there with the best of them.”

McKinnon also said he believed it would be better to have a council of 14 in order to have both stakeholder representation and members with the skills necessary to run a council.

“These days, you’ve really got to have a lawyer and an accountant: this is a $350 million turnover. You probably also want someone in engineering or architecture. The Hub cost $67 million, Te Puni cost $50 million, that’s been in my chancellorship. You don’t use them, because otherwise they’d have a conflict of interest; they can’t be used professionally, but they bring their advice to the board which has a degree of expertise.”

Speaking about the new requirement for Māori representation on university councils, McKinnon said he supported the move, but thought the requirement could be filled by one of the four ministerial appointees to the Council.

“I am very very supportive of that. The only thing I wonder is whether one of the ministerials shouldn’t be Māori rather than one of the eight stakeholder representatives. The commitment to the Treaty is with the Crown anyway. I certainly want to see Māori on Council.”

The bill is open for public submissions now, and will be open until 30 April.


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