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Universities’ Reaction to Budget 2011

Universities’ Reaction to Budget 2011

Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara is pleased that the government has recognised the important contribution higher education makes to New Zealand’s future growth. Today’s budget announcement provides for a 2 percent increase in the funding rate for all degree and postgraduate courses, despite the government’s financial constraints.

“We understand that the hangover from the global financial crisis combined with the costs of rebuilding Christchurch means that government finances are tight, so the addition of any extra funding is welcome.” says Derek McCormack, Chair of Universities NZ.

However, the increased funding doesn’t keep pace with inflation, let alone the real increase in university costs, which is about 1.6 times the Consumer Price Index (CPI). For years universities have had to make do with decreasing funding in real terms and though we are sympathetic to the government’s financial position this budget is no different. High demand for student places means that universities continue to carry more students than government will fund, compounding the financial pressure on our institutions and potentially compromising the quality of teaching and research.

Research, Science and Technology (RS&T) is the cornerstone of innovation and growth, and the universities are at the heart of the RS&T effort in this country, producing research of a world-class standard that has commercial application and makes a difference for New Zealanders. While this budget offers no new funding for RS&T, we look forward to working together with the government, industry and other research organisations to address the vital role RS&T plays in New Zealand.

“Investment in universities is part of the solution, proven to deliver positive returns to both individuals and the country for years to come,” concludes McCormack.

“The challenge remains for the government to increase real investment in future budgets to ensure New Zealand’s university system is able to continue to deliver internationally competitive education and research.”

ENDS

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