Annual value of polytech about $300m

Phil Ker.
Phil Ker. Photo: ODT files
Otago Polytechnic is pumping nearly $300 million into Dunedin's economy each year, and it appears the figure is growing, a new report has revealed.

The polytechnic enjoyed an 11% annual rise in overall student numbers in 2016, and the Dunedin campus alone injected $297.4 million into the city's economy, in the form of student and staff spending at local businesses, and through polytechnic building programmes using local contractors.

Otago Polytechnic chief executive officer Phil Ker said the report reinforced the tertiary institution as a ''significant player in both the regional and city economies''.

''Our success undoubtedly benefits the regional economy, but that success is itself driven by the support we have from local businesses and communities.''

Commissioned by the polytechnic, the report by Rebecca Hamid also showed the tertiary institution's three campuses (Dunedin, Central Otago and Auckland) contributed almost $365 million to the global economy in 2016.

The report estimated the ''total economic impact'' of the polytechnic by using several data sources to estimate its direct and total expenditure effects.

It involved analysing not only the direct impact, but also the flow-on effects of polytechnic expenditure.

A polytechnic spokesman said about 57% of students came to the polytechnic from outside Dunedin, 55% from beyond the Otago region and about a third of students (32%) from the North Island.

A significant number (16%) came from overseas in 2016, which represented a 31.5% increase in international enrolments, compared with 2015.

The result was attributed primarily to the growth of the polytechnic's Auckland campus over the past four years.

He said there were a number of reasons for this success.

It had more than 100 programmes from foundation to postgraduate degrees; the highest possible endorsement from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority; it continued to lead the country's institutes of technology and polytechnics (ITP) sector in course and qualification completions; and student and graduate satisfaction ratings were consistently high.

Looking to the future, a number of factors would influence the polytechnic's growth.

These included a building and facilities modernisation programme over the next five to six years.

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