Wanganui's mayor says cuts in government funding to UCOL were disappointing and especially meant a loss of choice for the city's young people when considering their career choices.
Annette Main said the proposal to take a one-year hiatus in enrolments to both the fine arts and glass courses also worried her, because many people could see it as a strong signal or a move away from the arts.
"The strong push from the Government into areas such as science and away from the arts will negatively impact on the growing awareness and perception of our city as a centre with a vibrant and innovative arts community," she said. "This makes that more of a challenge," Ms Main said.
She said that in recent times the glass and fine arts courses had not had the level of students to ensure ongoing viability, but "we also believe that there may be better ways to deliver and promote these in the future".
She said a new approach had to be developed in partnership and her "strong preference" was for UCOL to continue with enrolments into these two courses while this is occurring. Ms Main said the council would continue to do all it could to support Whanganui UCOL "and to attract and retain the young people" needed to ensure Wanganui is a leading provincial centre in New Zealand.
Whanganui MP Chester Borrows said it was disappointing that there had been a lack of enrolments this year and that a decision had been made to pause enrolments next year. "But I'm happy to be part of any initiative aimed at getting more students to Whanganui UCOL," Mr Borrows said.
He said a loss of positions within the organisation was equally disappointing, but it was important for all government agencies to work as efficiently as possible. "It doesn't surprise me a number of positions have been disestablished, given a number of these are duplicated in Palmerston North.
"But there's no reason why those positions being created in the wake of that cannot be based in Wanganui."