The NorthTec proposal tabled this past week is a radical overhaul of how the organisation delivers its service.

What Northlanders learn and who teaches them will change dramatically, as will how NorthTec staff are managed.

NorthTec has got to this point because of inept management. It is the only explanation as to why it has 46 more academic staff than similar regional polytechnics.

Not only is NorthTec top heavy with academic staff - students receive less instruction than the recognised ideal.

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Here is an organisation that is facing a $4.5 million loss, dropping student numbers and staff issues - something had to happen and to propose something of this magnitude is necessary.

The proposal says 75 jobs will be disestablished and 39 jobs created - so 36 staff will go. And that's the tough part when it comes to a proposal like this. The people it affects.

Staff now get to respond to the proposal - they will learn on December 6 - just under three weeks out from Christmas - of any changes to the proposal, and what form, if any, it will take.

The other thing that has to come from this change is ongoing stable management - the performance of NorthTec fluctuates like a forestry company.

Except that NorthTec, unlike the forestry industry, can't blame slow growing students for its up and down performance.

It is an institution that over the past few decades has never achieved a settled, constant performance.

Its current state should never have been reached. Hard questions, decisions and action on a regular basis - rather than saving them up for this bombshell - are a tenet of basic, good management.

As is clear, open, direct communication. Staff deserve that right now, and the opportunity to work through a difficult time with dignity and respect.

Students? They deserve better than what NorthTec is currently delivering. Traumatic as it is, the proposed change is the best thing for Northland.