The Government will fork out to help rebuild Christchurch's two universities and polytech - but only their science and trade facilities.
The University of Canterbury, Lincoln University and Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) have submitted initial business cases for capital investment from the Crown for assistance with their earthquake rebuilding programmes.
After receiving advice from Treasury and the Tertiary Education Commission, cabinet has agreed in principle to help fund:
- science and engineering facilities at the University of Canterbury
- science facilities at Lincoln University
- expansion of trades training facilities at CPIT.
Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce says while the Government expects tertiary institutes to fund capital developments themselves, the extraordinary circumstances in Canterbury warrant additional support.
The Government will help meet the cost of rebuilding the facilities, alongside their insurance proceeds and contributions from each institution's own balance sheet.
The extra cost to the Crown was not immediately provided, ahead of a final decision by cabinet after each institution submits a more detailed project business case next year.
Mr Joyce says the Government has also maintained operational funding for the three institutions at pre-quake levels, regardless of their enrolment levels, for a third year in a row, so they can maintain capacity while working through the business cases and long-term recovery strategies.
The announcement on extra capital investment comes just days after Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker emphasised the need for a greater focus on tertiary institutions in the city's new CBD plan - and calling for a new University of Oceania.
In 25 years time, most people in Christchurch will be aged over 65 - and Mr Parker says it is important to draw younger New Zealanders to the city.
"We could create an academically diverse campus that offers students the opportunity to learn, research within our business innovation ecosystem, and develop among their peers a network of collaboration rooted in this city and region," he wrote in a blog post.