The Vice-Chancellors Advisory Group (VCAG) agreed a range of initiatives to address the financial impact of COVID-19, one of which was additional controls over travel activities. These controls have had a profound impact on University expenditure, and $10 million will be saved by the end of 2020 on travel expenditure alone. However, these controls have placed an additional administrative burden on travellers and the support teams who arrange the travel bookings and VCAG recently agreed some changes to streamline the process.
From 6 November the Travel Request Smartform will require the traveller (or their administrator) to indicate all necessary approvals have been obtained and are attached to the smartform. Once the Supply Chain team have the request, they will contact the travel agent to generate a purchase order and book the travel on behalf of the traveller.
Should there be any unavoidable cost increases between approval and when the booking occurs re-approval will no longer be needed. However, any scope change to the original travel request such as an additional route, additional accommodation, different class of travel, etc will still require your applicable VCAG member to re-approve.
The following arrangements remain in place until further notice.
- All travel will need to be approved by the relevant member of VCAG or approved delegate prior to any engagement with travel agents
- We will limit the number of staff contacting the travel agents and make sure travel agents only accept bookings from authorised staff
- The Air NZ online booking portal will remain closed along with the portal for booking travel insurance
For Academic Divisions where the University has rolled out the OurDrive travel and conference approval form, this is to be used all travel.
For Service Divisions, or where the OurDrive travel and conference form has not been rolled out, approval is to be provided by email and attached to the Travel Request Smartform.
Staff completing travel and conference approval requests can use the AirNZ public website to get indicative costs before submitting the request for approval rather than asking travel agents for quotes.
Once travel is approved the traveller (or their administrator) should raise a request for a purchase order via the existing purchasing smart form. Once the Supply Chain team have the request, they will check approvals are in place as per the current process and then contact the travel agent to confirm the travel costs, generate a purchase order and book the travel on behalf of the traveller. We have provided the travel agents with a list of
Supply Chain staff authorised to book travel on behalf of University staff.
Managed isolation charges for travel into New Zealand
Effective immediately the New Zealand government has introduced managed isolation charges for select customers returning to New Zealand.
For full details of the managed isolation charges and who this applies to please visit https://www.miq.govt.nz
Sharon Van Turnhout
Chief Financial Officer