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Victoria University of Wellington’s now $60m Living Pa is a ‘disgrace to staff and students’

The Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that University Council at Victoria University has approved an $8 million increase to their already massively over-budget Living Pā project, bringing the total spend to around $60 million – nearly twice as much as the initial $35m price tag set out in 2019.

According to an OIA and subsequent email correspondence, the institution has spent $27,175,000 so far, including $5,550,000 in consultation costs. It plans to have the entire project finished by the end of 2024.

Taxpayers’ Union Campaigns Manager, Connor Molloy, said:

“At a time when the University is struggling with record-low enrolments, low revenue, and sky-high deficits, it continues to recklessly funnel money into a needless vanity project where the budget alone could cover the university’s entire fiscal hole, and then some.

“The University Council must be financially illiterate if it thinks that continuing to pour funds into this wasteful endeavour will result in anything other than more blowouts and more pressure on staff and students.

“The Living Pā project has been a financial disaster from the get-go. Following the pandemic, the budget increased by nearly $20 million to accommodate ‘rising building costs’, and will now cost nearly two times as much as was initially planned.

“Over the last 2 years, Wellington’s University has been churning out shockingly high deficits, subsequently forcing hundreds of its staff into resignation to ‘keep costs down.’ It’s a damning insult to students, staff, and New Zealand taxpayers, that the University Council has continued to prioritise a wasteful development project over the provision of education.

“Victoria University should halt all work on the Living Pā, get a hold on its finances, and instead of selling out its staff for the sake of a new building, focus on what our tertiary institutions are really meant for.”

 

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