Friday, October 14, 2005

Lobbying the TEC

Last week, Victoria University used legal thuggery in an effort to prevent Salient from reporting on its plans for a 10% across-the-board fee rise. Their fear was that students would object. I suggest that people do their utmost to make this fear come true.

Left Field and Beyond has posted a form letter to send to the members of the Tertiary Education Commission, asking that they not grant VUW's request. It reads:

Dear Commissioners/[insert name]

I am writing in regard to a possible request by the Victoria University of Wellington Council to the Commission to allow a fee increase above the five percent prescribed in the Fee Maxima Scheme: that is, a fee increase for domestic students up to ten percent. I strongly oppose any move by the TEC to grant such a request. I believe it would be contrary to the Tertiary Education Strategy, statements by the Minister of Education and the goals of TEC to allow such a request by Victoria.

Requests for increases above the Maxima are only supposed to be granted in extraordinary circumstances. Victoria University is not in dire financial need, nor is it likely to be. It has consistently posted healthy surpluses, which are expanded when related bodies such as VicLink are included in the cumulative surplus. There are no circumstances in the situation of Victoria University that could be considered extraordinary.

One of the key changes identified in the Tertiary Education Strategy is to "Increase responsiveness to the needs of, and wider access for, learners". Allowing further increases in domestic tuition fees restrict access to tertiary education as is not at all responsive to the needs of learners. At a time when student debt has reached $8 billion, and not all students receive a student allowance, it is unduly harsh to allow such large increases in tuition fees. Subsequent to the increase of domestic fees at Victoria in 2004 (an increase of 4.7%) the Minister of Education, the Hon Trevor Mallard, stated that fees should not be increasing. For the TEC to then grant the request of Victoria University for a large increase would go against the public statements of the Minister responsible for the Commission.

TEC are focused on providing a high quality knowledge economy. However, regular increases in domestic tuition fees are making tertiary education, and therefore a knowledge economy, increasingly difficult to achieve.

For all these reasons, and many more, I would ask that any request by Victoria University for the TEC to allow a fee increase above the Maxima be denied.

Yours Sincerely,
etc etc.

Unfortunately, the TEC hasn't posted email addresses, so you'll have to use snailmail to one of the addresses here.

If you are annoyed at VUW over their actions, or in fact a student there, then I think that this would be a perfect way of voicing your displeasure.


I don't think it was just the possibility of the fee rise and the likely response of students that made VUW try and stop dissemination of that story. The terms "massive staff redundancy" was used in it and that is not the sort of thing employees like to hear casually speculated about by their leadership in the media and not the way to foster good staff relations.

Posted by Amanda : 10/14/2005 08:56:00 AM

You could always try:

Or this format from the Ministy of Health -

Treasury's format is the same as the first format above so there seems to be no consistency.

Alternatively, you could try both formats. I'm sure a message will come back if you've got the wrong email. But to be sure the letter gets through, it may pay to send via mail as well.

Posted by Anonymous : 10/14/2005 10:07:00 AM

The first format (firstname.lastname) seems to work. We'll just have to see if I get any replies.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 10/14/2005 10:38:00 AM

Bugger - it doesn't seem to work for everyone. I'll have to do more poking.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 10/14/2005 10:45:00 AM

Don't forget, Massey University is applying for a 10% fee increase as well...

Posted by Anonymous : 10/14/2005 10:52:00 AM

The following two commissioners can be contacted by email:

Kaye Turner -
Jim Donovan -

The rest will have to go by snailmail - PO Box 27-048, Wellington

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 10/14/2005 11:33:00 AM