The influence of the pandemic on Auckland’s downtown center has been tremendous, mounting worries that it could become a crime-ridden ghost town as international students and foreign employees leave.
The financial health of both the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology (AUT) has been harmed as a result of the drop in international students induced by COVID-19.
- New Zealand universities have lost millions of dollars in revenue because of declining numbers of international students.
- The reduction in international students caused by COVID-19 has damaged the financial health of New Zealand universities.
- Another 600 international students are expected to leave in 2022 because of a lack of new students.
In 2019, the area was alive with crowds of young people who lived and studied in the vicinity, giving the area a student town feel.
However, Symonds Street and its surroundings became a veritable ghost town as the city’s periodic lockdowns began over the next two years.
The international students who had previously occupied the adjoining apartments have been displaced by an increasing number of people in emergency or temporary accommodation.
Shop proprietors in the area said that the neighborhood’s character had shifted dramatically. According to them, there has been a considerable reduction in business as well as an increase in break-ins and violence.
When asked about the changing nature of the city around the institutions, long-serving AUT vice-chancellor Derek McCormack is frank that a lot of the housing that was previously occupied by international students has now been taken over by social housing.
Moreover, AUT and other institutions have lost millions of dollars in revenue because of the absence of large numbers of international students.
Since 2020, when AUT lost 300 international students, the university has lost another 600 international students.
Because of a dearth of incoming students starting in 2022, another 600 international students are predicted to leave.
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