Otago University worth $1.4 billion

By Vaughan Elder of the Otago Daily Times

File photo / NZPA
File photo / NZPA

With a total value of $1.4 billion, the University of Otago's assets are worth more than any other university in New Zealand, figures from the Tertiary Education Commission show.

TEC figures comparing the financial performance of each of New Zealand's eight universities show that at the end of last year the net value of Otago University's assets stood at $1.41 billion, ahead of the University of Auckland ($1.37 billion).

The institution with the next highest asset value was Massey University ($943 million).

Colliers Real Estate commercial property specialist Pete Gale said the university's interest in developments around the campus "underpinned" the commercial property market in the area.

The fact it was "on the hunt for more strategic property close to that university area" meant this would continue for the foreseeable future, Mr Gale said.

Otago University's assets include $855 million in buildings, $205.9 million in land, $19.4 million in cash and cash equivalents and $9.4 million worth of rare books, manuscripts, and artworks.

At the end of last year the university owned 218,318sqm of campus building space, 56,190sqm of flats and residential colleges and controls 22,289ha of land, of which 22,246ha is in long-term pastoral leases.

Mr Gale said the university did not have such a direct impact on the property market outside North Dunedin, but continued growth of the institution influenced "confidence in commercial property in a broader sense".

"You look at retail properties down on George St for example. They are all affected by what happens of the university."

Otago University had the second-highest revenue last year - at $592.4 million - behind Auckland University, which had revenue of $933 million.

It also received the second-highest amount of government funding for tuition, with $265.2 million, behind Auckland University's $369.5 million.

Because the university is a tertiary education provider it does not pay general rates - which make up about 60 per cent of all Dunedin City Council rates - on most of its assets.

It does pay rates for water and waste services.

City council finance and resources general manager Athol Stephens said the university was "proportionally larger" as a share of the total capital value of the city than universities in other major centres.

This meant the city received a proportionally smaller amount of general rates, Mr Stephens said.

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said the university's financial standing compared with others in the country underlined how important it was to Dunedin's economy.

The fact it owned so many buildings and frequently invested in new buildings was incredibly important to the construction and building sector, Mr Christie said.

FACTBOX
- The net value of Otago University's assets is $1.41 billion.

- $855 million in buildings.

- $205.9 million in land.

- $19.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.

- $9.4 million worth of rare books, manuscripts, and artworks.

- At the end of last year, the university owned 218,318sqm of campus building space and 56,190sqm of flats and residential colleges.

- Otago Daily Times

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