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PQ 7. Canterbury, Recovery—Lincoln University Rebuild

[Sitting date: 23 July 2014. Volume:700;Page:9. Text is subject to correction.]

7. Hon KATE WILKINSON (National—Waimakariri) to the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment : What investment is the Government making in the recovery of Lincoln University?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment): Last week I announced that the Government has approved in principle to provide up to $107.5 million in additional capital funding towards the rebuilding of Lincoln University’s science facilities destroyed in the Canterbury earthquakes. Lincoln suffered very significant damage in the earthquakes, losing 40 percent of its academic floor space, including much of its facilities for science, teaching, and research. The Government funding of up to $107.5 million is almost one-third of the projected cost of the total campus rebuild, and will involve demolishing the badly damaged Hilgendorf and Burns buildings, and replacing them with modern new facilities.

Hon Kate Wilkinson : Why is the Government investing in new science facilities for Lincoln University?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE : The Canterbury earthquakes did cause, as I said, very significant damage to the university. It has been using temporary facilities since the earthquakes. And, of course, since the earthquakes, it has had a drop in student numbers, as has Canterbury University. This funding will help the university with its rebuild programme and get it back fully on its feet. Of course, the agricultural sector, which is Lincoln’s area of speciality, earns New Zealand $36 billion in exports each year, and the university is a leading player in the sector’s teaching and research, helping to ensure increasing amounts of innovation in that sector. The new facilities will be a huge asset to Lincoln, significantly assisting its recovery and student numbers, and, of course, also providing opportunities for those export earnings to continue to increase as productivity increases.

Hon Kate Wilkinson : How does the Government’s investment in Lincoln University assist the development of the Lincoln Hub?

Hon STEVEN JOYCE : The Lincoln Hub is a partnership between the university, Dairy New Zealand, and a number of Crown research institutes. It will be an incubator for research, innovation, and wealth creation in the agricultural sector, with one of the highest concentrations of agricultural and environmental scientists in the southern hemisphere working together to bring new ideas to market and develop new export opportunities. Part of the Government’s agreement with Lincoln for this new funding is the integration of its new facilities with the other major partners in the hub. The rebuild of the university, together with the existing campus development plans of the research institutes located at Lincoln, mean we have a unique, once-in-a-generation opportunity to combine the physical operations of all these entities in one integrated campus serving 900 scientists, students, and industry.

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