Otago contributes almost $2b to NZ economy

The University of Otago contributed almost $2 billion to the New Zealand economy last year, a new report shows.

The 2023 Economic Impact Report considers the actual expenditure of the University, including the estimated expenditure of its staff and students.

It shows that $1.96 billion in total value was added to the New Zealand economy last year. This figure includes the downstream value added by University, staff and student expenditure, less the portion of that expenditure that is not retained in New Zealand.

The report also estimates that University activity supports an estimated 9 per cent of Dunedin’s workforce, with a total employment impact of 5,952 full-time equivalent jobs.

The University had 18,960 equivalent full-time students enrolled last year and is one of New Zealand’s largest employers with 4,077 full-time equivalent staff employed in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland and Invercargill.

David Thompson

David Thompson

Director of Strategy, Analytics & Reporting David Thomson says it is encouraging to see the results of its significant and growing contribution to the national and local economy, even at a time when the University faces some challenging financial headwinds.

The greatest impact of the University is felt in Dunedin with 92 per cent of students enrolled and 85 per cent of all staff situated there.

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

“This equates to 16 per cent of Dunedin’s Gross Regional Product,” Mr Thomson says.

Other cities in which the University has a particularly significant economic impact are 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 $85 million, and total employment impact of 354 FTE jobs.

“Just using Dunedin as an example, there are both the ongoing impacts of University activities, and the impact of specific events. The two weekends of graduations this month are just one example of latter, with a typical graduation weekend providing an estimated economic boost of over $1.5 million for Dunedin spread across a wide range of businesses in the city.”

The full 2023 Economic Impact Report, compiled by the Strategy, Analytics & Reporting Office, was presented to the University Council today.

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