Govt to provide $260m to University of Canterbury rebuild

  • Steven Joyce
Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Canterbury Earthquake Recovery

The Government has agreed to provide up to $260 million to the University of Canterbury to support its rebuild programme following the destructive Canterbury earthquakes.

“The Government's contribution will fund a new science centre and expanded and upgraded engineering facilities. These will provide modern teaching and research facilities and cater for more students," Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Steven Joyce says.

“This is a very significant investment by the Government in both the future of the University, and the wider Canterbury recovery.

“The 2010 and 2011 earthquakes have had a major impact on the University, with all of its buildings and facilities affected. As a result of the earthquakes, student numbers were down 15 per cent in 2012 compared to the previous three-year average."

"While generally the Government expects tertiary education institutions to fund their own capital investment from their balance sheets, Canterbury institutions are dealing with a unique set of challenges. The blunt reality is that Canterbury University would find it very difficult to recover without this support.”

The University of Canterbury has developed a campus wide redevelopment programme to refresh and modernise its campus and supporting infrastructure. The total programme is costed at $1.1 billion over a period of 10 years.

“I am encouraged to see positive progressive planning by Canterbury University. Their campus-wide programme of restoration and improvement will provide modern, world-leading facilities. The Government’s contribution to this programme will be an integral part of the transformation,” Mr Joyce says.

“The work programme will be a major contributor to the Canterbury recovery, and will be one of the largest building projects in New Zealand.  The University estimates that it will spend approximately $4 billion in capital and operating expenditure in the local economy over the next 10 years, as well as bringing an additional 3,000 domestic and international students into the region.”

The support decision comes just weeks after a Crown capital injection of $18.9 million was approved for Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology to enable it to further expand its trades training capacity as part of its campus rebuild following the Canterbury earthquakes.

Operational funding support has also been provided to the three Canterbury-based Tertiary Education Institutions since the earthquakes, by maintaining Student Achievement Component (SAC) funding at 2011 levels, and institutions have been exempted from funding recoveries where enrolments did not reach expected levels. The Tertiary Education Commission has recently approved a continuation of this exemption for these TEIs in 2014.