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Sun striking the ClocktowerWednesday 15 May 2019 2:46pm

The University of Otago's total value added to the Dunedin economy exceeded one billion dollars in a year for the first time, and the total economic impact of the University nationally is now estimated at just over $2 billion.

These are two of the key findings of the University of Otago Economic Impact Report 2018, released today.

The report also estimates $1.163b in direct expenditure (including expenditure by its students and staff), across all of its locations, for the 2018 year.

Along with its main campus in Dunedin, the University has campus sites in Christchurch, Wellington and Invercargill, as well as centres in Wellington and Auckland.

The majority of direct expenditure was driven by spending in Dunedin at $1.045b, with Wellington and Christchurch each accounting for about five per cent. Meanwhile, the Wellington and Auckland centres and the Invercargill campus made up less than one per cent of spending.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says the University is a significant contributor to not only the Dunedin economy but to the economies of the other cities it has a presence in. The University employed 4080 full-time staff last year, making it one of New Zealand's largest employers.

“We estimate that the University directly and indirectly supported 16,265 jobs in Dunedin, with a further 892 in Christchurch and 830 in Wellington,” says Professor Hayne.

“The University of Otago also plays a fundamental role in ensuring the vitality of Dunedin's economy, not only through expenditure in the local community but also through providing career opportunities.”

The estimated total value added to the Dunedin economy from the University was $1.050b. The flow-on economic impact of the University resulted in an estimated total expenditure of $2.037b.

“For the University to add an estimated $1.050 billion to the Dunedin economy shows its deep connection and contribution to its hometown. It's also noteworthy to reach a significant milestone when the total impact exceeds $2b as we celebrates our 150th year with the province and New Zealand,” Professor Hayne says.

The Dunedin campus accounted for 88 per cent, or $1.801b, of the University's total economic impact.

Thirty-eight per cent of the total expenditure can be attributed to student spending, with the remaining being driven by day-to-day University expenditure as well as staff spending their wages and salaries within their local economies.

“While staff and student expenditure has a significant impact on local economies, the flow-on effects are even greater. While the economic benefits are hugely important it remains important that we continue to be mindful of the enduring social and cultural benefits stemming from the University. One such example is OUSA's capping show turning 125 this year,” Professor Hayne says.

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