Professor Robin Pollard says Lincoln University will be ‘dead in a year’

Lincoln University’s vice-chancellor Professor Robin Pollard has refused to elaborate on why he reportedly said the university would be “dead” in a year.

On August 8, Prof Pollard told staff at a meeting “we have one year to get to surplus or we are dead”.

The comment was raised in Parliament by NZ First MP Tracey Martin last month.

Ms Martin asked Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment acting minister Louise Upston whether she was aware Mr Pollard had made the “dead” in a year comment to staff.

The university has been under dire financial pressure, after a recorded $6 million loss in the last financial year.

It is looking to slash “unpopular courses” in a bid to save millions.

In response to Ms Martin, Ms Upston said there were challenges in “returning to profitability” for the university.

Prof Pollard did not deny he made the comment but said it “was taken out of context”.

He refused to clarify what he meant and how it had been taken out of context. He would only say it was made “in the context of the university’s need for transformation”.

“Financial viability is important but any suggestion that Lincoln University only has a year to achieve viability is superficial and taken out of context,” he said.

Prof Pollard said he wanted the university to “flourish well into the future” and to make it financially viable, costs had to be reduced and revenue increased.

Police appeal for sightings of missing French tourist

A young French tourist has not been seen since last week.

Alexandre Levain has been missing since Friday, when he was seen at Arthurs Pass Village, in the South Island.

Police are appealing for sightings of the 29-year-old, who was travelling with a backpack and a guitar.

“He may have decided to go tramping in the area or continued his travels around New Zealand,” a statement said.

• Anyone who may have seen Levain or knows his whereabouts can contact Christchurch police: (03) 363 7400.

NZ Herald

Christchurch city council decides vehicle access remains on Victoria Street despite original plans

A revised plan to retain vehicle access on Victoria St has jumped its first hurdle, in spite of a petition pushing for the original plan to make the area car-free.

On Tuesday, the Hagley-Ferrymead Community Board approved a watered-down version of the city council’s plan to transform the street into an “inner-city destination area”.

However, a petition organised by climate change group, Generation Zero, calling for the original plan to be implemented, has gained more than 720 signatures.

In May, the city council announced plans to transform the street as part of its Accessible City chapter of the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan to make it pedestrian friendly.

It involved closing the street to vehicles, with the exception of buses and bicycles, from Christchurch Casino to the clock tower, and removing 50 car parks. Shop owners in the area opposed the plan because they said it would kill their business.

After public consultation, the city council proposed the watered-down version, which would see vehicle access retained, and only 31 car parks removed.

The plan is scheduled to be discussed at the Infrastructure, Transport and Environment Committee meeting next Thursday. It would then make a recommendation to the city council.

Generation Zero representatives would speak at the committee meeting and present their petition.

Hagley-Ferrymead Community Board chairwoman Sara Templeton said the board had a “long, robust” discussion before recommending the new plan.

However, she said there were concerns the opportunity to make a pedestrian-friendly street could be lost.

Christchurch Star