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Report shows increasing economic impact of University of Otago

Clocktower at sunset

Tuesday 14 May 2013 8:29am

Professor Harlene Hayne
Professor Harlene Hayne
Photographer Alan Dove

The overall direct economic impact of the University of Otago to Dunedin and other centres in New Zealand is now $897 million – a rise of $7.2 million since 2011, a new report shows.

The annual Economic Impact Report was presented at the University Council today.

It shows actual expenditure by the University, combined with estimated spending by staff and students, to reveal a total estimated direct economic impact of University activities across its campuses worth $897 million in 2012. In 2011, the comparable direct economic impact of the University’s activities stood at $889.9 million.

As in previous years, in 2012 the vast majority of this money flowed into the Dunedin economy, where the total expenditure was valued at $800 million, or around 16% of the city’s gross domestic product (GDP). Wellington received the next greatest economic impact estimated at $47.1M, followed by Christchurch, $46.2M; Invercargill, $3.5M and Auckland, $0.6M.

The Dunedin economy had 12,420 full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs supported through direct University expenditure in 2012, while the Wellington and Christchurch campuses also supported considerable employment, at 722 and 707 FTEs respectively. The impact on Invercargill and Auckland was less significant, at 57 and 10 FTE jobs respectively.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says the report underscores the University of Otago’s significant contribution to the Dunedin economy and to the other cities in which it has a presence.

“This report highlights that the University is more than a facility to benefit students, staff and society through the very high standard of our teaching, research and graduates, but it also plays a fundamental role in the ongoing vitality of Dunedin’s economy in particular.

“We are proud of our wider economic contribution, which clearly demonstrates our long-standing town and gown relationship. At the same time, we are also extremely fortunate to have the stable workforce and associated downstream services that help us to operate so successfully, and we thank the community for their ongoing support.”

The report further notes that the wider flow-on effects of the University’s activities are even greater, noting that the impacts are far-reaching across many sectors of the economy, with the institution, its staff, students and visitors spending widely in local businesses.

“This in turn creates additional activity as these businesses then purchase further goods and services to meet this demand,” the report, prepared by the University’s Planning and Funding Department, says.

The report placed an estimate on these flow-on or indirect downstream impacts, resulting in an estimated economic impact worth $1.662 billion overall in 2012. This is also higher than the 2011 estimate, which was $1.648 billion.

The report adds that there are many other economic, social and cultural benefits resulting from the presence of the University campuses. But such benefits are difficult to quantify and fall outside the scope of the report.


Jo Galer
Senior Communications Adviser
University of Otago
Tel 64 3 4798263
Cell 021 2798263

Download the 2012 Economic Impact Report (in PDF format, 713k)

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