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Graduation week boosts campus’ economic impact

May 28, 2014

Graduation week boosts campus’ economic impact

It may be compact, but Massey University’s Wellington campus packs a huge financial punch. It contributes around $475 million annually to the Wellington regional economy an economic impact report shows.

The report comprises information contained in annual and financial reports of Massey University, the New Zealand University Students Association (NZUSA), Statistics New Zealand and several reports produced by commercial and government entities.

Measuring the economic contribution of the campus in 2012, the report showed that for every full-time equivalent position at the University (the campus employed 416 such staff that year), one additional job was created in the wider economy.

Report author Professor Christoph Schumacher from the School of Economics and Finance, says $81.9 million of the total annual contribution represented the sum that would have been absent from the region’s economy without the existence of the Wellington campus.

“The primary contribution of this report is the identification of the net benefits the Wellington region would miss out on if Massey (Wellington) was not present,” the report states.

Graduation ceremonies at the Michael Fowler Centre tomorrow and Māori and Pasifika ceremonies on campus on Friday look set to provide the region with further evidence of the economic contribution the campus’ students make. This is measured by aspects of research and technical expertise, physical capital (adding to city infrastructure) human capital through the education of students and social capital through community activities undertaken by them and staff.

More than 680 students from five colleges will graduate at ceremonies that include the presentation of an honorary doctorate from the College of Creative Arts to World of WearableArt (WOW) founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff.

College of Creative Arts Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Claire Robinson, who heads a college comprising 60 per cent of the campus’ student intake including from the influential School of Design, says the students’ involvemment in the city’s creative industries could not be overlooked.

The contribution that graduates such as fashion and industrial designers made to firms like Weta and Xero in Wellington, Fisher and Paykel and Kate Sylvester nationally and Apple, Nike and Phillips internationally also had to be recognised.

“Being a finalist as a supporting institution at the 2014 Gold Awards [celebrating Wellington business innovation] is further recognition of Massey University’s impact on the Wellington economy,” she says.

Professor Schumacher says another factor to be considered was the origin of students who came from outside the region. In 2012, 67 per cent of students came from outslde the Wellington region to study, including 20 per cent from Auckland.

“Of the remaining 33 per cent of total students from the Wellingon region, we estimate that half remain in the city as a result of the presence of the Massey campus.”

Professor Schumacher says that given that no specific data exists, this figure was determined after gauging how both Auckland and Canterbury universities measure retention rates. Auckland has assumed that the retention effect accounts for half of its full-time students from the region while the University of Canterbury uses a figure of 60 per cent.

“Given the Wellington region is similar to the Auckland region, in that they both have several tertiary institutions, we use the more conservative Auckland estimate.”

After considering the expenditure impacts to the Wellington campus, its operations contributed $204.7 million worth of output to the regional economy. A further $270 million of output was added to the regional economy when factoring in the value generated by Massey students while studying at the campus. When these figures are combined the report concluded it can then be determined that Massey’s Wellington campus contributes around $475 million to the Wellington regional economy.

Click here for the full report.


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