An industry training organisation is filing a judicial review over the "inadequate, hasty" consultation on tertiary reforms.
The government has proposed merging all 16 polytechnics into a single national institute, the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, which would include transferring work-based training and apprentices to polytechnics.
The seven week period of consultation closed on 27 March, but the industry training organisation, Skills Active Aotearoa, requested that there be more time to consider and discuss the proposal.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins sent an email reply on Friday evening saying that, while he acknowledged there was concern about the pace of the consultation process, it was "necessary to arrive at a decision as soon as possible to provide some certainty for everyone involved in the vocational training sector as to the direction of the reforms."
The chief executive of Skills Active Aotearoa, Dr Grant Davidson, said that has left him no choice, and a judicial review will be filed on Monday under urgency, over unmet expectations of a meaningful and genuine consultation with sufficient time and information provided.
"Minister Hipkin's refusal to consider a realistic consultation period for this reform has left us no choice but to take this significant legal step," Dr Davidson said.
"By filing this application, we hope to achieve an examination of the decision-making that led to such an inadequate, hasty and frankly undemocratic process in the first place."
The 16 polytechs have been consulted over the last year but industry training organisations like Skills Active Aotearoa have only had seven weeks to consult, on what Mr Davidson calls the "most radical reforms of vocational education in the last 30 - 40 years."
"There's no consultation, there's a rushed timeframe for people to consider the proposal that is put forward and there's no detail on that proposal and how it would work so we're just rushing towards what seems to be a predetermined outcome."
An alliance of eight polytechnics (ITPs) have formed an alliance - The ITP Group - in support of the reforms.
However, they too were concerned about the "relatively short consultation" and Chris Gosling from Weltec and Whitireia said this needed to be followed up with ongoing engagement to define the details and how the transition to a single institution would be managed.