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Universities a key part of the solution

Universities a key part of the solution

Vice-Chancellors have welcomed today’s Budget funding increase as further recognition that universities are key drivers of New Zealand’s economic growth and social well-being.

Budget 2015 allocates an additional $112.3 million over 4 years into the tertiary sector, with special emphasis on university science, engineering, agriculture and some health science courses. Much of this new investment is made possible by Government’s decision to retain existing funding levels despite a demographic decline in the school leaver population. The Minister has proposed to review the annual maxima fee increase and Vice-Chancellors look forward to participating in the consultation process.

Professor Harlene Hayne, Chair of Universities New Zealand and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago, has thanked the Minister for today’s announcement and has applauded his decision to reinvest money back into universities.

Professor Hayne says, “We are already looking forward to working with the Minister on additional investment opportunities for 2016.

“All eight universities are well placed to support the government’s dual goals of achieving sustainable, long-term economic growth through innovation, and of enhancing outcomes for young people, including Māori and Pasifika.”

Currently universities train or employ the vast majority of New Zealand’s researchers. Across all sectors, universities provide the skilled staff required by New Zealand employers and the leaders and thinkers that underpin our society. Universities directly account for about 1.5% of this country’s GDP and are among the largest employers and creators of jobs in the regions where they are located. Similarly, education is New Zealand’s fifth largest export earner and universities are responsible for a third of that market.

“We are delighted that Government continues to recognise that universities make a major economic contribution to this country and are key players in many initiatives to lift economic and social outcomes,” says Professor Hayne.

“This investment enables universities to be part of the solution to achieve growth for all New Zealanders.”

ENDS

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