Archive of Articles on 2023 Cuts at Universities Across Aotearoa New Zealand

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(Last updated 19 September)


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News Stories

Fear of ‘hasty’ decisions by Victoria University ahead of restructure” (The Post, September 18)

Iconic Kiwi actor laments ‘insulting’ proposed Vic Uni theatre cuts” (1News, September 10)

Tertiary Education Commission refused to defer university funding clawbacks – briefing” (RNZ, August 31)

Falling student numbers to take another bite out of tertiary sector funding” (The Post, August 31)

Officials want even more job cuts at Te Pūkenga, briefing shows” (RNZ, 30 August)

Massey axes Auckland nursing course for new students: ‘I never would have moved’” (Stuff, August 30)

Secondary school teacher training to continue at Victoria University of Wellington” (Stuff, August 18)

It’s Squid Game at VUW after 74 Staff Members Granted Voluntary Redundancy” (Salient, August 14)

Cuts to Theatre: Undervaluing an Industry” (Salient, August 7)

University funding woes threaten outspoken researchers and specialised courses they teach” (NZ Herald, August 4)

Staff fume as downsizing university plans offshore campus” (Times Higher Education, August 3)

74 people take voluntary redundancy at Victoria University of Wellington amidst financial concerns” (NZ Herald, August 2)

Universities have more managers and admin staff than academics: report” (RNZ, August 2)

“New Zealand course cuts mean ‘catastrophic’ loss of Asia know-how” (Times Higher Education, August 2)

UC students ‘stand in solidarity’ with protesters holding ‘funeral’ for tertiary education” (The Post, August 1)

Will university arts cuts strip talent from the creative capital?” (The Post, July 29)

Another protest as outcome of voluntary redundancies at Victoria University looms” (The Post, July 26)

‘Time to fix university funding,’ says UNZ head” (Research Professional News, July 26)

Fears speech-language therapist shortage could hit crisis levels if Massey University cans key degree” (Newshub, July 24)

NZSM Refuses to Face the Music” (Salient, July 24)

University of Waikato reveals $16.8 million deficit for 2022” (NZ Herald, July 23)

University of Waikato reveals $16.8 million deficit for 2022” (RNZ, July 23)

‘It destroys the value of university’ – Massey staff take stand against cuts” (RNZ, July 21)

‘Please don’t let it happen’: Protesters front up to Massey University council over restructures” (RNZ, July 21)

University of Otago makes more than 100 staff redundant in cost-cutting bid” (RNZ, July 20)

Union angered after Massey University calls for more than 120 redundancies” (Stuff, July 13)

Orchestra bursts into song in protest at Victoria University” (TVNZ 1News, July 13)

Massey University staff ‘furious’ about further cuts – union” (TVNZ 1News, July 12)

Universities’ proposed language cuts threaten New Zealand’s interests, academics warn” (RNZ, July 12)

Hundreds of Proposed Job Losses, Programmes to be Cut, and a Government Funding Boost: What the Fuck is Happening at VUW?” (Salient, July 10)

“The Battle Is Far From Over” – University Arts Education Still Under Threat” (The Big Idea, July 6)

Nearly 200 University of Otago staff apply for redundancy” (Otago Daily Times, July 2)


New Zealand university funding boost “won’t solve all problems”” (The PIE News, June 30)

Third university signals big job cuts despite new funding” (Stuff, June 29)

Staff fear big job cuts as Massey University reconsiders courses with low enrolments” (RNZ, June 29)

The Front Page: Could universities push up fees to make their businesses more sustainable?” (NZ Herald, June 28)

New Zealand’s Oldest University Theatre Programme Under Threat” (The Theatre Times, June 28)

Uni staff the ‘backbone of this country’, suffering in proposed cuts – union” (RNZ, June 28)

Two university Vice-Chancellors calling for cooperation to end funding woes” (RNZ, June 28)

Otago Uni cuts still on agenda” (Otago Daily Times, June 28)

Luxon on university funding” (RNZ, June 28)

Christopher Luxon criticises slow return of international students” (RNZ, June 28)

New Zealand university funding lifeline ‘welcome but not enough’” (The Guardian, June 28)

Job cuts to go ahead at Victoria University” (RNZ, June 28)

“‘Throwing money at everything’: Uni bail out blamed on Covid response” (1News, June 27)

New Zealand boosts tertiary funding as universities struggle” (Reuters, June 27)

Government provides significant extra support to universities and other degree providers” [Press Release] (, June 27)

Govt pumps extra $128m into cash-strapped universities, tertiary institutions in bid to stave off job cuts” (NZ Herald, June 27)

Big job losses at Victoria and Otago universities to go ahead despite more government funding” (RNZ, June 27)

The Panel with Selwyn Manning and Victoria MacLennan (Part One) Today on the Panel, Wallace and panellists Selwyn Manning and Victoria MacLennan discuss the funds that will be made available to cash-strapped universities.” (RNZ, June 27)

Major job losses for universities despite govt rescue package” (RNZ, June 27)

Extra government funding for cash-strapped universities” (Wellington.Scoop, June 27)

Political parties back extra tertiary education funding” (RNZ, June 27)

$128m lifeline for struggling universities to be spread across all institutes” (The Spinoff, June 27)

$128 million bail-out for struggling tertiary sector” (Stuff, June 27)

Deputy PM Carmel Sepuloni dismisses criticism government isn’t funding universities properly” (RNZ, June 27)

Government to throw lifeline to struggling universities, fears ‘NZ will be a poorer place’ if courses, staff aren’t saved” (Newshub, June 27)

Carmel Sepuloni: Govt announcement to help universities coming this afternoon” (Newstalk ZB, June 27)

Rescue package for universities” (RNZ, June 27)

Government poised to bailout struggling universities facing hundreds of job losses, claims of underfunding” (NZ Herald, June 26)

Government poised to announce major bailout package for universities on brink” (Newshub, June 26)

Proposed staff cuts at the New Zealand School of Music” (RNZ, June 26)

Cuts at Victoria University w/ Senior Lecturer of Education Dr Margaret Gleeson and Lecturer in Theatre Dr James Wenley: 26 June, 2023” (95bFM, June 26)

‘Anguish and anger’: Victoria University council urged to push for reform over cuts” (Stuff, June 26)

DCC may go into bat for university” (Otago Daily Times, June 24) (PDF)

‘System just can’t go on’: Inside NZ’s university crisis” (The Post, June 24) (PDF)

Financial problems growing at Victoria University” (RNZ, June 24)

Tertiary Education Commission shot down suggestion from universities to co-ordinate cuts” (The Post, June 23) (PDF)

Victoria University proposed cuts: Vice-chancellor says funding unsustainable” (RNZ, June 23)

A traumatic time for tertiary education” (The Spinoff, June 23)

All the university courses on the chopping block” (The Spinoff, June 23)

Teacher shortage in capital will take another hit if university axes training course, principal warns” (RNZ, June 23)

Cutting teacher training will have major impacts – uni lecturer” (RNZ, June 22)

Ex-CFO ‘confident’ uni’s savings target will be met” (Otago Daily Times, June 22)

Fears Victoria University restructure may spell loss of ‘world-leading’ geoscience expertise” (NZ Herald, June 22)

The Panel with David Farrar and Niki Bezzant (Part One)” [From 9:12] (RNZ, June 22)

Interest in Asia needs to be backed up with study of languages, culture, experts say” (RNZ, June 22)

Staff and students protest as further details of Vic Uni job and course cuts revealed” (The Post, June 22) (PDF)

Dismay at scale of Victoria University planned cuts” (RNZ, June 22)

Job cuts at Victoria University spark shock and disbelief” (RNZ, June 22)

Victoria University confirms 229 jobs on the line, eight courses could be discontinued” (NZ Herald, June 21)

‘Tragic’ blow for staff as Victoria University proposed cuts to jobs and entire subjects” (RNZ, June 21)

Courses to be cut at Vic include geography, teaching, languages” (Stuff, June 21)

Labour MP troubled by plans to cut courses and jobs at VUW” (Wellington.Scoop, June 19)

Victoria Uni’s multimillion-dollar building projects ‘on pause’ amid huge deficit” (The Post, June 17) (PDF)

Massey University policies from a ‘secret society’ – academic board voices opposition” (Stuff, June 15)

University redundancies undermine Government’s own science strategy – academic” (RNZ, June 14)

Cash-strapped Waikato University has paid former cabinet minister Steven Joyce nearly $1 million” (Stuff, June 13)

Mayor, ex-PM join call for Government to ‘Save Tertiary Education’” (Stuff, June 12)

Oh, the Humanities: Vic Uni alumni rally to support threatened arts courses” (The Post, June 10)

Majority of universities report deficit for 2022, call for government to reinvest savings” (RNZ, June 9)

Universities have worst financial year on record in 2022” (RNZ, June 9)

Victoria University proposes cuts to religious studies programme” (RNZ, June 9)

‘A perfect storm’: inside the decline in student numbers at the University of Otago” (Stuff, June 8)

Massey University staff told to clear buildings’ rat traps” (Stuff, June 8)

Masters programmes at risk of cuts” (Otago Daily Times, June 8)

The university funding shortfall with no easy fix” (RNZ, June 8)

University of Otago programmes at risk of cuts begin to emerge” (Stuff, June 8)

University staff feel ignored over Massey restructure decision” (Stuff, June 8)

Protests against university staff cuts in New Zealand” (World Socialist Website, June 6)

University of Waikato proposing staff cuts to IT, maths departments” (Stuff, June 6)

Government can’t stop University of Otago cutting staff – PM” (RNZ, June 2)

PM greeted with protest at university” (Otago Daily Times, June 2)

“‘Stealing from the future’: Victoria University students, academics rally against proposed cuts” (Stuff, June 2)

SPECIAL REPORT – Job Cuts at Vic” (The Salient Unedited Sessions, June 1)

Top scientist Mike Joy loses role at Victoria University” (NZ Herald, May 31)

Protect Otago protest group to hold first rally” (Otago Daily Times, May 30)

Blame game over why hundreds of Victoria Uni jobs are now on the line” (The Post, May 27)

Looming uni debt plight ‘considerable’” (Otago Daily Times, May 27)

Victoria Uni vice-chancellor on axing up to 260 jobs” (RNZ, May 26)

$355 Million for Tertiary Sector Reappropriated” (The Critic, May 25)

Investigation: Uni budget gap deliberately omitted” (Otago Daily Times, May 25)

More university cuts as Victoria Uni announces up to 250 jobs at risk” (RNZ, May 25)

Union fights for employees facing Victoria University job cuts” (RNZ, May 25)

Hundreds of jobs facing the chop at Victoria University due to multimillion dollar loss” (NZ Herald, May 24)

Up to 260 jobs may go at Victoria University to address massive deficit” (Stuff, May 24)

Up to 260 VUW staff facing job losses due to $33M financial hole(Salient, May 24)

OUSA, TEU Protest Staff Cuts” (The Critic, May 9)

‘We have a target on our backs’: University of Otago staff protest over hundreds of possible job cuts” (Stuff, May 9)

VUW Not Ruling Out Staff Cuts Following Otago Debacle” (Salient, May 1)

Academic board ‘unequivocally’ opposed to Massey University restructure” (Stuff, April 25)

Crushing the Critic and Conscience” (The Critic, April 23)

Bosses to blame, say Otago University staff” (Otago Daily Times, April 22)

Concerns about educational delivery, outcomes at Otago Univeristy as it braces for significant redundancies” (Newshub, April 21)

Otago University ‘just doesn’t have any financial resilience’ – union” (RNZ, April 21)

Union shocked by the number of jobs potentially on the chopping block at Otago Uni” (Newstalk ZB, April 21)

Several hundred jobs to go at University of Otago as student numbers plunge” (Stuff, April 20)

‘Terrible day for Dunedin’: Uni facing hundreds of job cuts” (Otago Daily Times, April 20)

University of Otago considering ‘several hundred’ redundancies” (Newstalk ZB, April 20)

‘Confronting’ student enrolment figures as Victoria University reports $15.7m deficit” (Stuff, Feb 13)

Op-Eds / Open Letters

Richard Shaw, “A changing world needs arts and social science graduates more than ever – just ask business leaders” (The Conversation, July 25)

Jonathan Boston, “The crisis in tertiary education caused by inadequate funding” (The Newsroom, July 13)

James Ladanyi, “The ‘Bugger All’ B.A. Fallacy: The Importance Of Keeping The Arts In Academia” (The Big Idea, July 13)

James Cain, “Inside the vital secondary teachers programme at Victoria University of Wellington” (July 13)

Cather Simpson, “University cuts threaten New Zealand’s long-term economic growth” (July 6, NZ Herald)

Teuila Fuatai, “Cutting back on inclusion” (E-Tangata, July 2)

Peter Walls, “Giving universities autonomy to slash and burn does not serve the national interest” (The Spinoff, June 30)

Nicole Gaston, “Bailout, Band-Aid or back to basics? 3 questions NZ’s university funding review must ask” (The Conversation, June 28)

Gianna Schwanecke, “Why the $128 million tertiary funding boost won’t be enough” (The Post, June 28)

Nik Taylor and Zoei Sutton, “Teaching and working in universities today: ‘Battered and broken. I must get out’” (NZ Herald, June 27)

Nicola Hyland, “Killing the human in humanities: What Victoria University’s cuts will do to theatre” (The Spinoff, June 26)

Robet Ayson and David Capie, “Weaker universities will diminish New Zealand’s international resilience” (NZ Herald, June 26)

Eddie Clark, “Labour’s silence on tertiary education cuts is deafening” (The Post, June 26)

Vernon Small, “Faced with tertiary sector challenges, Government should learn health’s lessons” (Stuff, June 25)

Failing Science, Government-style” (Otago Daily Times, June 24) (PDF)

Caitlin Cherry, “Letter from The Post editor – a former Victoria University student” (The Post, June 24) (PDF)

James Wenley, ““Unforgivable Attack” – Latest Blow In Gutting Of NZ Theatre Education” (The Big Idea, June 22)

Emma Maguire, “Where is your rage now?” (June 22)

Quintin Jane, “Cuts harming many for little gain” (Otago Daily Times, June 20)

Catherine Abou-Nemeh, “In underfunding universities, we have so much to lose” (The Newsroom, June 20)

Nicola Gaston, “Starved of funds and vision, struggling universities put NZ’s entire research strategy at risk” (The Conversation, June 19)

Stephen Epstein and Shin Takahashi, “Asia is vital to NZ’s future, except in our universities” (Stuff, June 16)

Julie de Bres, “What linguistics does for Aotearoa” (The Spinoff, June 15)

Morgan Godfery, “Labour then broke it, Labour now could fix it” (Stuff, June 15)

Ananish Chaudhuri, “The crisis in our universities” (The Newsroom, June 14)

Daniel Benson-Guiu, “Hipkins offered nothing when university needs support, funding” (Otago Daily Times, June 12)

Colin Anderson, “Time for radical action to save our universities” (Stuff, June 9)

“Opinion: New Zealand’s universities face an identity crisis” (

Cherie Chu-Fuluifaga, “Where every voice is heard…” (June 6)

Steven Joyce, “Govt selling our future short by starving universities” (NZ Herald, June 3)

Nicola Gaston, “When downsizing means destroying our universities” (The Spinoff, May 31)

Rewi Newnham, “Do we even care about our universities?” (The Press, May 30)

Emma Maguire, “Why do we always have to lose the humanities?” (May 25)

Vita Molyneux, “Why a Bachelor of Arts degree is a priority not a punchline” (NZ Herald, May 25)

Brian S. Roper, “Protect Otago – Save Our University!” (ISO Aotearoa, May 8)

Jess Ye, “Running Universities as Businesses is Killing Tertiary Education” (Salient, May 8)

Quintin Jane, “The government’s ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to universities is failing a generation” (The Spinoff, April 28)

Twitter Accounts



Tertiary Education Union – VUW Branch

Tertiary Education Union – Otago Branch

Students Against Cuts (VUW)

Protect Otago Against Cuts


My Twitter list of VUW-related accounts

Statements of Support

Applied Linguistics in Aotearoa New Zealand

Geoscience Society of New Zealand

New Zealand Association of Language Teachers

New Zealand Association of Scientists (2)

New Zealand Institute of Chemistry

New Zealand Institute of Physics

Raymond Williams Society of Japan


The state of our universities.” (Sharon Murdoch on Twitter, June 28)

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