NorthTec bosses have defended investing up to $1 million in an Auckland campus aimed at the international student market.

The venture has come in for flak in the wake of a decision to cut some applied arts courses in Whangarei, Rawene and Kerikeri. The cuts have been blamed on funding constraints and insufficient student numbers.

But at a meeting called last week by students at the Rawene campus, NorthTec chief executive Paul Binney said the Auckland venture had nothing to do with changes to applied arts courses.

The only reason for starting the Auckland campus was to make money which could then be invested into NorthTec's Northland sites.

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"It's not intended to be a drain on resources, it's there to generate revenue," he said.

Mr Binney said it was too early to say whether it would deliver the hoped-for returns.

"But we've gone into it in the belief we can make a good surplus."

NorthTec had spent more on upgrading the Rawene campus over the past two years than it had on the Auckland venture, he said.

The Auckland campus offers qualifications in business, management, accounting and English. NorthTec plans to expand the range of courses next year.