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‘Value for money’ drive paying off, says government

New Zealand’s universities ended 2010 with a collective surplus of NZ$125.8 million, a government report announced.

Figures published on 22 August by the Tertiary Education Commission showed that this represents a significant increase since 2008, when they recorded a surplus of NZ$75m.

Over the same period, their net assets increased from NZ$5.6 billion to NZ$5.9bn.

The strong financial position is reflected across the tertiary education sector.

New Zealand’s polytechnics recorded a combined surplus of NZ$90m, and the three wānanga—where tertiary education is provided in a Maori context—came away with a NZ$15m surplus.

The tertiary education sector as a whole ended 2010 with a surplus of NZ$231m from a revenue base of about NZ$4.4bn, half of which comes from the government. The universities received government funding of NZ$1.3bn in 2010.

The report also shows that income from the government’s Performance Based Research Fund and other research contracts increased from NZ$232m in 2008 to NZ$250m in 2010. These funds now make up 11.4 per cent of total government funding for tertiary education.

Steven Joyce, the tertiary education minister, said the results showed universities were responding to the government’s emphasis on “value for money and fiscal responsibility.

“While the government’s budget remains limited, it’s good to see tertiary institutions managing their finances and assets responsibly and positioning themselves to continue to make a strong contribution to New Zealand’s educational needs,” he said in a statement.