Back to top

CAUT Bulletin Archives

April 1999

Waikato Merger Quashed in High Court

The Association of University Staff of New Zealand (AUS) won an injunction in the High Court on March 31 to stop proposals by the University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor, Bryan Gould, to restructure its seven schools into four super-faculties.

The proposed changes at Waikato University went beyond matters of management, said Jane Kelsey, the AUS national president. "They affected the university's fundamental mission as set down in its charter and statement of objectives and were properly a decision for the university council, with advice from the academic board and other academic advisory bodies, and not for the Vice-Chancellor alone."

Professsor Kelsey also said there were concerns related to the adequacy of consultation with staff over the new structures, as required by the charter and the collective employment contract. "The Association did not say that the University of Waikato cannot be restructured. It is a matter of how that is done and ensuring that its academic impacts have been properly considered, and that the result will not trade off educational objectives for those of supposed management efficiency."

AUS says the decision means university management throughout the country will have to take a much more considered approach to decision-making than they have shown in recent times.