The disparity between the average salaries in Taranaki
and Otago makes it imperative Dunedin does everything possible
to welcome Anadarko and Shell when they arrive to drill off the
coast of Otago, business leaders say.
The Seek average New Zealand salary packages for December
showed Wellington at the top of the list with an average
salary of $81,259, a growth of 4% from January last year.
Taranaki, despite a 13% fall, was second on $75,349, followed
by Auckland with 3% growth at $75,170.
At the bottom of the list was Otago with 5% growth, on
$60,189, below Manawatu on $62,803 and Bay of Plenty on
The national average was $74,002, with 3% growth.
The top-paying jobs were mining, resources and energy on
$101,622, consulting and strategy $98,910, engineering
$92,598 and information and communication technology $91,348.
Jobs most common in parts of Otago, such as administration
and office support, call centre, and hospitality and tourism
were the bottom three on the list, with all salaries lower
Otago-Southland Employers Association chief executive John
Scandrett said the list was an analysis of quite specialist
''When we review the Otago and Southland regional results,
seen here in national net terms in an underperforming light,
it appears the local outcome hinges substantially on the
weight we carry across lower-paid healthcare, medical and
farming sector activities.
''While it is most important that we remain firmly supportive
of our traditional economic activity base, we are now facing
considerable challenges building momentum around wider
economic initiative generation.''
The South must be proactive in identifying and capturing the
potential employment and investment opportunities that would
spin off the proposed gas drilling work now on the horizon,
In that context, there was a need to understand exactly what
input the exploration companies would seek from local
employees and businesses and also from local government.
''Ideally, we will see central government step into the frame
with a positive Norwegian-modelled royalty allocation to
sovereign-managed pension benefit.''
If those key elements could be welded together successfully,
a more positive and widely-spread support platform for the
new development should become evident. Locally, the depth and
strength of employment capacities would receive a dynamic
shot in the arm, Mr Scandrett said.
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie said
it was widely recognised Dunedin salaries were less than in
the rest of the district and that was because the jobs were
mostly concentrated at the lower end of the salary scale.
The city should be aiming much higher and there was an
opportunity sitting at the top of the scale in mining,
resources and energy.
The loss of jobs at the Oceana Gold Macraes gold project was
a blow to the region and they must be replaced with other
Dunedin was dependent on the education and hospitality sector
for some of its higher-paying jobs, he said. However, there
needed to be a move across the board to find a wider range.
Jobs like those which could be lost from Invermay were an
example of why the region must continue to fight to retain
those sorts of high-skilled positions, Mr Christie said.
''We would be naive not to look at the benefits exploration
will bring to the district. We cannot go on losing
high-paying positions. Fisher and Paykel Appliances is
bringing jobs to the city and they are significant jobs. ''
Canterbury and Auckland were likely to keep rising up the
ranks, particularly since consulting and strategy,
engineering and construction were three of the top four
earners, he said.
The earthquake rebuild and Auckland's housing shortage would
attract skilled workers away from regions such as Otago.
It was important for the region to diversify and oil and gas
was just one area of possible growth. Otago could not afford
to be complacent in any area. Even call centres should be
pursued, Mr Christie said.