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University of Otago Economic Impact Tops $1.5 billion

Flax kete

Thursday 14 June 2012 2:44pm

The latest annual Economic Impact Report for the University of Otago indicates that estimated direct expenditure of the University, its staff and students was $889.9 million in 2011, and that the downstream effect, or total economic impact, of this direct expenditure is $1.648 billion.

Both direct expenditure and the economic impact of that expenditure were higher last year than in 2010, when direct expenditure totalled $858.7 million and total economic impact was estimated at $1.589 billion.

These figures take into account expenditure and economic impact across all of the University’s locations, with activity through the main campus in Dunedin accounting for the vast majority of both expenditure and economic impact.

When releasing the report today Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said these figures clearly showed both the overall economic contribution the University made to New Zealand, and the especially vital contribution it makes to Dunedin.

“The thing that sets us apart from every other town or city in the country is the fact that we are a university city, and one demonstrable benefit of this is the economic contribution made by the University.”

The total value added to Dunedin by the University is calculated at $779.3 million. This equates to an estimated 16 per cent of the city’s gross domestic product (GDP). The total employment impact of this for Dunedin – including jobs both directly and indirectly attributable to economic activity generated by the University and its students – is estimated at 16,855 full-time equivalent jobs.

The report also estimates the total value added through the Otago’s Christchurch campus at $44.7 million, and through its Wellington campus at $41.2 million. The University’s much smaller facilities in Invercargill and Auckland are estimated to have added value of $2.99 million and $0.7 million respectively.

Aside from the economic impact, other contributions made by staff and graduates should not be overlooked, says Professor Hayne.

“We have made no secret of the fact that we continue to focus on producing high-quality graduates who will go on and create new knowledge for society. We also have literally hundreds of internationally recognised researchers and teachers here at Otago.

“The value our graduates and staff create for both Dunedin and beyond should not be overlooked when considering the larger positive impact the University makes,” she says.
Professor Hayne also made note of other benefits that resulted from the town and the University working together.

“There is no doubt that we are a powerful combination. The way we have all worked together to save our neurosurgery services is just one example, and another has been the joint approach taken with both the city and other key groups to develop a new economic development strategy for Dunedin. Coming up, we will all get to enjoy the New Zealand International Science Festival, which is another fabulous joint University-City initiative

“The Festival is a perfect example of us working together to put on a world class science event that can only be experienced here in Dunedin,” concludes Professor Hayne.

Download the 2011 University of Otago Economic Impact Report (PDF, 592 KB)

Summary of the Direct and Total Economic Impact of the University of Otago in 2011

Location Direct Expenditure Total Expenditure Total Value Added Total Employment Impact (FTE Jobs)
Auckland $602,355 $1,492,100 $665,437 13
Wellington $46,590,475 $112,671,785 $41,191,031 985
Christchurch $46,059,546 $111,168,961 $44,759,513 973
Dunedin $793,357,930 $1,419,671,087 $779,331,391 16,855
Invercargill $3,291,160 $5,862,336 $2,858,520 71
TOTAL $889,901,160 $1,647,794,692 Not applicable 18,897

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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