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UC reports annual deficit but showing signs of recovery

Media Release: UC reports annual deficit but showing signs of recovery

February 27, 2013

University of Canterbury (UC) Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr said despite its annual result UC was, like Christchurch city, already showing some signs of recovery.

UC has reported an annual $67 million deficit, with most of it ($60 million) attributed to earthquake recovery impacts ($40 million) and a one-off adjustment to the depreciation of library materials ($20 million). This compares to the 2011 result of a $28 million surplus, the most significant difference being the additional building damage identified.

Ignoring the earthquake recovery impacts and library adjustment the result would have been a deficit of $6.6 million, which compares to a budgeted deficit result of $17 million and a 2011 reported surplus of $7.3 million.

Contributing to this year-on-year movement was increased expenditure of $4.5 million to attract students to UC and a $3 million increase in insurance premiums, Dr Carr said.

``On the positive side, first-year student numbers were 14 percent higher than expected and total operating revenue increased by $2.4 million from 2011, an improvement on budget of $17.5 million.

``However, there has also been an increase in the assessed value of costs to remediate damage to campus buildings from $120 million in 2011 to $390 million in 2012. This is largely due to more information being available to make this assessment based on engineering reports, invasive testing and detailed inspections after strip out.’’

Dr Carr said he was positive about the future of UC.

“The University’s earthquake recovery strategy is based on a vision of the institution being better than it had been pre-earthquakes. This year we will launch the new UC Quake Centre in partnership with some of New Zealand’s leading companies; we will establish a new Student Innovation Centre to help our innovative students develop their bright ideas; and we have established a new undergraduate Bachelor in Health Sciences qualification and new Masters degrees in Engineering Mathematics and Earthquake Engineering.

“But it is critical that the University progress its negotiations with the Government for funding support to advance its areas of distinctiveness.”

Cabinet agreed in principle late last year to provide capital support in these areas and invited UC to develop more detailed business cases.

“We appreciate the Government’s understanding of our situation and its recognition of the need for support. We are now working with the Government to determine the optimum level and options. This will need to be treated with some urgency to ensure we remain financially viable.”

Dr Carr said UC had continued to improve its educational performance and was ranked second in New Zealand for course completion and progression to higher levels of study.

``It is indeed a tale of two universities, where we are addressing the post-earthquake financial realities while we continue to make a difference through our research and teaching,” Dr Carr said.

ENDS

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