NEWS BRIEF: New Zealand tertiary unions to merge

New Zealand's two largest tertiary education unions will merge after university staff voted in favour of an amalgamation that will create a union spanning universities, polytechnics and Maori tertiary institutions. Association of University Staff members voted to merge with the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education to form the New Zealand Tertiary Education Union from the start of next year.

The new union will have 11,500 members in New Zealand's eight universities, 20 polytechnics, two of its wananga (Maori tertiary institutions) and several other institutions.

The unions' decision comes after several years in which the boundaries between the two unions became increasingly blurred as mergers between tertiary institutions occurred. The amalgamation leaves one other major tertiary education union, the Tertiary Institutes Allied Staff Association, as its 2,000 members voted last year against joining the merger.