Te Pūkenga: Leaked documents reveal horror financial position for polytechs, insiders spill beans on 's**tshow' meeting with minister

Newshub has been leaked financial statements showing none of the country's polytechs are financially viable on their own.   

It comes as the Government takes a wrecking ball to Te Pūkenga, and the mega-polytech lost another senior leader on Monday at a time when the organisation's been tasked with plotting and executing its own demise. Newshub has learnt of major internal kickback to that.   

It was Te Pūkenga that motivated Penny Simmonds to go into politics.    

She was the boss of Southern Institute of Technology when the mega-merger happened, and now she's the minister, she's scrapping it.    

Starting at the top, chief executive Peter Winder is now gone.   

"I wish him well and I thank him and Murray for their service," Simmonds told Newshub.    

Murray Strong quit as Te Pūkenga chair 10 days ago, and Newshub's been told "a meeting between Peter Winder, Murray Strong and the Minister was a total s**tshow with the Minister acting in a very unprofessional way".   

Simmonds said she wouldn't characterise it like that.   

"But it was certainly a meeting where I had to make clear the change of direction by the current Government," she said.   

It's understood that included asking staff who established Te Pukenga to carry out disestablishing it.   

"It's a very hard ask and, yeah, I don't envy them," said Daniel Benson-Guiu from the Tertiary Education Union.    

Simmonds said staff were "very anxious" about the direction "so it's important that we move quite quickly".    

But moving quickly could lead to something else. An insider said: "If this disestablishment goes ahead, all the North Island polytechnics will be in danger of folding very quickly."  

But it's actually worse than that. Newshub's been leaked financial statements showing all 16 polytechs are essentially broke.   

The worst are Whitireia and WelTec, which are $28 million in deficit. Waikato Institute of Technology is $22.5m in the red, Open Polytechnic is not far behind on $22m and Toi Ohomai is nearly $21m. The deficit at all 16 polytechnics totals more than $185m.    

"That is absolutely correct. That is a result mainly of the unified funding scheme that the previous Government brought in," Simmonds said.    

Benson-Guiu said if the minister wants to bring back to the polytechnic provisions, then "she will need to stump up the cash".  

"It will come at a cost."   

Simmonds said their funding will increase.   

"They will also be working very hard over the next year to get international students back."   

Then there's the case of who will do the re-establishing. Newshub's been told "none of the institutes have leadership anymore" and "no one has a CEO, CFO, CIO, ICT director, head of HR, head of facilities, or many of the senior academic roles anymore so who will be making the decisions?"    

"Every campus, every office, is cut to the bone and staff have left in droves," said Benson-Guiu.  

Simmonds didn't know how many people had been sacked or who had taken redundancy.