30 Aug 2016

Victoria University to sell $10 Karori campus

1:39 pm on 30 August 2016

Wellington's Victoria University is selling its campus in New Zealand's biggest suburb.

Victoria University's Karori Campus.

The Karori Campus covers 3.7ha. Photo: Google Maps.

The Karori campus was acquired from the government for $10 in 2014.

It covers 3.7ha and includes 20 buildings.

The campus was the former site of the university's education faculty, and is currently home to two childcare organisations as well as recreational facilities.

Victoria said it had conducted a comprehensive review of possibilities for the site, including using the campus for accommodation, redeveloping the facility for other areas of the University or other activities, and finding another user.

Victoria University vice-chancellor Grant Guilford said campus location had been problematic for staff and students.

"The role of the Karori campus has long been a subject of debate within Victoria, primarily because of Karori's distance from the University's other main campuses, which are in, or close to, the central city. This isolation has always created a sense of disconnection for staff and students at Karori," says Professor Guilford.

He said disposal of the campus could take up to two years.

But the Labour Party is urging the ministry of Education to look again at whether the land could be kept for future schooling needs in the area.

"Primary schools in the suburb are growing fast and maintaining the land gives a chance to prepare for that growth," says the Wellington central MP, Grant Robertson.

"The decision by the ministry and the Tertiary Education Commission to effectively gift the land to Victoria University without properly consulting the Karori community, or considering future educational needs, now looks to be a very costly one indeed. The whole process needs to be reviewed to ensure any future transfers of property from the Crown to a university takes into account community interests."

Wellington City Council said it understood the importance of the campus to local clubs, schools and community groups.

"We are looking into the Karori community's requirements and, over the coming months, will be working with Victoria University and the community to ensure the community's needs for accessible and appropriate community and recreation facilities are maintained," says the council's chief operating officer, Greg Orchard.