Schools and shops in Auckland's Queen St are shutting down as New Zealand's border remains closed to foreign students.
Whitireia Polytechnic's Queen St campus has become the latest school to close at the end of this year, following ATMC (formerly Edenz), Cornell, Dominion English School, EC English (formerly Embassy) and EF International.
The loss of foreign students has had a flow-on impact on retailing, with 40 shops now closed or for lease out of 225 street-front premises in Queen St between Quay St and Karangahape Rd.
Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said New Zealanders were now returning to the central city after the Covid lockdowns, but both turnover and pedestrian counts were down 25 per cent from this time last year.
"If you look at where the spend is at the moment, tourists and students are down about $850,000 a day, or $6 million a week," she said.
She said students and other international visitors accounted for 19 per cent of central city spending before Covid.
Whitireia and Weltec chief executive Mark Oldershaw said Whitireia's campus at 450 Queen St had about 300 international students studying English, business and information technology before the border closed, and that has shrunk to 40.
The campus will close at the end of the year with the loss of about 35 jobs.
Only the NZ Radio Training School, which was also part of the campus, may survive. Oldershaw said the polytech was negotiating with another party to take it over.
Privately-owned Dominion English School at 155 Queen St and EF International in Fort St closed in August.
Cornell Institute of Business and Technology in Hobson St, which once had 1500 students, also said it was closing in August after students dropped to just six.
EC English (formerly Embassy) at 75 Karangahape Rd closed on October 16. Director Rebecca Hayes said students shrank from 200 at the start of this year to five.
Australian Technical and Management College (ATMC), which bought the assets of Edenz Colleges, is listed by the NZ Qualifications Authority as planning to become "inactive" from next April, joining EC English and Queenstown Language School.
Another big private company, Aspire2 International, which is based next to the Sky Tower, has seen its students dwindle from 3000 at the start of the year to 900, and chief executive Clare Bradley said numbers were dropping at 300 a term.
"For those of us who are sole international education providers, it's vanishing point really unless the border reopens," she said.
Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki (WITT) chief executive John Snook said WITT's Hamilton school of engineering, energy and infrastructure would also close due to the loss of overseas students.
However, other regional polytechnics with Auckland campuses - Northtec, Eastern Institute of Technology, Tai Poutini, Otago Polytechnic and Southern Institute of Technology - said they all planned to stay open.