I posted some time ago about getting more jobs in the district by making it easier for businesses to get on with what they do, expand and take on people. I'm also enthusiastic about encouraging new businesses to come to Waitaki and take advantage of our strengths - a good, loyal workforce, relatively cheap commercial property, very good schools and a great lifestyle.
And there is a third option which I have been promoting at the various candidate forums I have been at. This is the possibility of government jobs. As I am saying on the campaign trail - No government department in New Zealand should have a call centre or processing centre in our major cities! Auckland and Christchurch especially, have huge pressure on their infrastructure. Housing is very expensive, it is difficult to get and hold good staff, commercial property is expensive and traffic issues are legendary. Come to a place like Oamaru and those issues disappear! Add in our great lifestyle and school options and we have a real win: win!
My intention as Mayor is to work closely with central government to persuade them that it really makes a huge amount of sense to move these government operations to the regions. With technology, it doesn't matter whether these centres are in downtown Auckland or in Oamaru, the service can be provided effectively and efficiently. Given that these government jobs pay in the vicinity of $45-50,000, a 50 person call centre would bring in an annual wage contribution of $2,500,000 before tax per annum. And that doesn't count all of the trickle-down benefits for other businesses and their staff who would be able to grow their business because of it. This will make a good difference to our economy and it is a source of jobs for our locals and to help bring more people here. This will also help us all as we will have more people to help share the rates burden! It's an opportunity I will be pushing all the way and doing what I can to make this happen.