Otago Uni’s 2021 Economic Impact Report found that they contributed a whopping $1.79 billion to the New Zealand economy last year. In other news, the new Budget plan means that everyone earning under $70,000 a year is getting a free $350, which you can then give straight back to the Uni. How exciting!
The Uni has campuses all over Aotearoa, with 19,603 full-time students and 4,044 full-time staff employed in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland, and Invercargill. Only the Uni’s Supreme Commander (Vice-Chancellor David Murdoch) really knows what they do in Invers, but the 20 full-time sleeper agents/employees down there still pumped $5 million into a very grateful local economy.
While $5 million seems like a decent amount of cash, this is a drop in the bucket compared to the $1.13 billion injected into the Dunedin’s economy by the Uni’s staff and students. The Uni’s Director of Strategy, Analytics, and Reporting, David Thomson said this “equates to 17 percent of Dunedin’s Gross Regional Product”. Additionally, the Uni accounts for 9% of the city’s workforce. David recognized the city’s relationship with the Uni as “mutually beneficial, as practically every sector of Dunedin’s economy is positively impacted by the presence of the University. But equally, there are literally hundreds of businesses and organisations within the city that play their part in meeting the needs of the University, our staff, and our students.” Keep that in mind when you get your dusty meal from Huzur Kebab; you would be nothing without them, and they would be nothing without you.
David said that “There are many other social and cultural benefits resulting from the presence of the University such as knowledge transfers, human capital, and social capital enhancement.” While David did not specify what “social capital enhancement” actually means, Critic Te Arohi can only infer he was referencing the priceless nature of “the student experience”, i.e. vomiting your 2-minute noodles into an overturned wheelie bin at 1:30am on a Tuesday morning.
The loss of international students was a burden on the Uni’s budget, but was somewhat offset by not having to spend much on international travel. The cash cows are expected to return in semester two.