Auckland University worth $4.4 billion to the region

By Stuart Dye

The University of Auckland injects almost $4.4 billion into the region's economy each year, says a study to be released today.

The Institute of Economic Research study gauges the impact of the institution on Auckland for the first time.

It says that for each fulltime job the university creates, one more additional job is created in the wider regional economy.

Students alone spent $662 million last year, and direct expenditure from the university was $675 million.

The vice-chancellor, Professor Stuart McCutcheon, said the study highlighted the significance of the institution, "giving us a useful sense of the university's economic contribution".

The study - The University of Auckland: Economic Contribution to the Auckland Region - estimates the regional economic impacts from the expenditure of the university and its students.

It also measures net economic benefits the region would miss out on if the university did not exist.

It says spending by the university and its students added $4.39 billion to the region last year.

However, Professor McCutcheon said the estimate was probably conservative.

The research focused on the immediate flow-on effects of spending at the university and by its students. It did not measure long-term effects, such as the impact of future income from graduates who stay in Auckland.

It also did not try to quantify the university's role in generating knowledge, which spilled over to other sections of society.

"While a good measure of the trickle-down effects of spending, it does not account for the other consequences of the university's research efforts," said Professor McCutcheon.

One example was the fully-owned subsidiary UniServices, created 17 years ago to commercialise university research in Australasia.

"It has grown to employ 550 staff and has spun out 22 new companies with a total market capitalisation of $266 million," Professor McCutcheon said.

The study will be released at the vice-chancellor's annual breakfast this morning.

THE NUMBERS

* Direct, indirect and induced expenditure: $2.43 billion.

* Direct, indirect and induced expenditure of the 39,420 students: $1.96 billion.

* University provides 4332 fulltime-equivalent jobs.

* For each job, one more additional job is created in the wider Auckland regional economy.

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