Uni calls for urgent financial help from Govt

ASHLEIGH STEWART
Last updated 18:03 27/02/2013
Rod Carr
FAIRFAX NZ
University of Canterbury vice-chancellor Rod Carr.

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The University of Canterbury is desparately calling for financial assistance from the Government after recording a $67 million deficit last year.

The university today released its annual financial results for 2012, showing a $67m deficit - most of which was attributed to $60m worth of earthquake recovery impacts and a one-off $20m depreciation of library materials.

The deficit is a different story to 2011, when the university recorded a $28m surplus.

Vice-chancellor Rod Carr said the bulk of the deficit was due to an increase in the cost to repair earthquake-damaged campus buildings, which has risen from $120m in 2011 to $390m in 2012.

''This is largely due to more information being available to make this assessment based on engineering reports, invasive testing and detailed inspections after strip out,'' he said.

Ignoring earthquake recovery costs and the library adjustment, the deficit would have been $6.6m - compared to an initial budgeted deficit of $17m.

There had also been an additional $4.5m spent to attract students to the university, and a $3m increase in its insurance premiums.

Carr said it was now ''critical'' the university progress with funding support negotiations with the Government that  Cabinet agreed to provide in principle late last year.

''We are now working with the Government to determine the optimum level and options. This will need to be treated with some urgency to ensure we remain financially viable," he said.

Despite the result, Carr said the university was showing signs of recovery.

''On the positive side, first-year student numbers were 14 per cent higher than expected and total operating revenue increased by $2.4m from 2011, an improvement on budget of $17.5m.''

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- The Press

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