$2b boost to NZ economy by varsity

Despite facing "some challenging financial headwinds", the University of Otago contributed almost $2 billion to the New Zealand economy last year.

The university’s 2023 Economic Impact Report shows the actual expenditure of the institution, as well as the estimated expenditure of its 4077 fulltime equivalent staff in Dunedin, Invercargill, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, and its 18,960 equivalent fulltime students.

It showed $1.96 billion in total value was added to the New Zealand economy last year.

The figure includes the downstream value added by the university, staff and student expenditure, less the portion of that expenditure that is not retained in New Zealand.

University of Otago strategy, analytics and reporting director David Thomson said it was encouraging to see the results of the university’s "significant and growing contribution" to the national and local economy, "even at a time when the university was facing some challenging financial headwinds".

He said the greatest impact of the university was felt in Dunedin, where 92% of the students were enrolled and 85% of all staff were situated.

An estimated $1.23b of value was injected into the Dunedin economy by the university, its staff and students in 2023.

Mr Thomson said other cities in which the university had a particularly significant economic impact were Christchurch, with a total value added in 2023 of $94 million, and total employment impact of 382 FTE jobs; and Wellington with a total value added of $85m, and total employment impact of 354 FTE jobs.