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More pressure for universities in Budget 2023

18 May 2023 | media

Universities New Zealand – Te Pōkai Tara appreciates the 5% increase in funding for teaching (Delivery and Quality - DQ funding) as outlined in today’s Budget.

“This increase comes at a time when the university sector is under significant financial pressure and is a step in the right direction,” says Universities New Zealand Chair and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canterbury Professor Cheryl de la Rey. “University funding is an investment in the future of Aotearoa New Zealand. It has been proven to deliver myriad positive returns to both individuals and the country.”

Universities New Zealand also welcomed the announcement of $55m for research fellowships and an applied doctoral training scheme, as well as the continuation of half-price public transport fares for 13- to 24-year-olds. This is good news for our students who are dealing with their own cost of living challenges.

Other positive news in today’s Budget in the area of research is that $451m has been allocated for multi-institutional research collaboration hubs in the Wellington region focused on health and wellbeing, oceans, climate and hazards, advanced manufacturing, biotech and energy futures.

However, at a time when it is imperative for New Zealand to broaden our markets, it is unfortunate to see that the government has discontinued funding for the Centres for Asia-Pacific Excellence (CAPEs).

Universities New Zealand Chief Executive Chris Whelan says, “While we acknowledge the increase to tuition funding in Budget 2023, the situation for universities remains precarious.”

“Factoring in inflation forecasts for 2023 and 2024, CPI will have gone up 34% over a ten-year period. With today’s announcement, average student funding will have risen by 16% over the same period —a drop in real terms of 18%. These are striking statistics that, as we have seen, have real world consequences for university staff, students and our wider communities.”

“Looking just at this year and the next two years, actual and forecast inflation for 2022, 2023, and 2024 will be around 15.5%. With today’s announcement tuition funding will only be increasing by 9% over the same period.  We are continuing to slip backwards in our funding per student.”

“Government controls nearly 80% of university funding. Government decisions around funding determine the extent to which universities can continue delivering high quality teaching and generating useful research. Adequate government funding also allows New Zealand’s universities to maintain their excellent international rankings which is key to our universities being able to attract and retain world-class teachers and researchers and to attract international students.”

“Our hope,” says Chris Whelan, “is that as the economy recovers, the Government will see that further investment in our universities is actually an investment in this country’s future.”

To read the Budget 2023 click here

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact or +64 27 636 5050.