Canterbury University will sack 150 staff over the next three years and Labour says it's the government's fault.
Tertiary education spokesman Grant Robertson says the university made the announcement on Wednesday.
"It's because of lower student numbers and higher costs in the wake of the earthquakes," he said.
"The government should have seen this coming. The university was always going to face financial pressures but the government has done little to help."
Mr Robertson says the government should have got alongside the university last year and looked for ways to reduce those pressures and save jobs.
"Laying off staff should be a last resort. Christchurch needs world-class tertiary education and you don't get that by sacking lecturers and tutors."