City prospectus targets high-wealth investors

Dunedin City Council business development adviser Chanel O'Brien with a copy of a new Dunedin investment prospectus that aims to help boost the city's financial fortunes. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Dunedin City Council business development adviser Chanel O'Brien with a copy of a new Dunedin investment prospectus that aims to help boost the city's financial fortunes. Photo by Gregor Richardson.

A new prospectus prepared by the Dunedin City Council is part of a city-wide push to target more ''high wealth'' national and international investors, the council says.

The 37-page guide unveiled this week highlights the city and its success stories, from individual businesses to the city's education sector, and is being distributed in print and online.

It has been prepared by the council's economic development unit to target investors across New Zealand and overseas, council business development adviser Chanel O'Brien said.

She told the Otago Daily Times that would include wealthy individuals in New Zealand or overseas who might be convinced to invest in Dunedin companies.

It would also target expats who might be interested in returning to New Zealand and setting up new companies in Dunedin or or in growing existing companies, she said.

''The end game really is about attracting people to Dunedin who wouldn't necessarily know what we have to offer.

''It's about ensuring Dunedin is actually on the menu of opportunities for people who could be seeking some of these sorts of opportunities.''

The document had been prepared with help from members of Dunedin's investment panel, she said.

It was available online but about 3000 copies had also been printed, at a cost of $12,000, for distribution in New in Zealand and overseas, with help from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and University of Otago staff. The initiative was part of a broader push improve the council's relationship with the business sector, under the banner ''Red Carpet, Not Red Tape''.

A separate report by council business development adviser Margo Reid, updating progress in addressing red tape, would also be considered at next week's economic development committee meeting.

The report outlined key projects already under way to achieve that, including a pilot programme testing the effectiveness of appointing ''relationship managers'' within council to liaise with potential investors.

The aim was to assign such managers to help those behind bigger projects, primarily those worth more than $1 million. The council's city property staff were key players identifying potential projects and six had so far been identified, she said.

The council was also running a business clinic at Dunedin's central library, offering help with business ideas to members of the public, which was believed to be a New Zealand first. The city's investment panel had also been meeting regularly to help potential investors.

The Otago Daily Times reported in February that process had so far resulted in Chinese investors with plans for a $60 million international school selecting Dunedin as their preferred location.

The council was also considering a business survey to better align its services with business expectations, and a new communications strategy to ''quietly but intentionally'' change the focus of council staff when dealing with the public.

The report would be considered by councillors on Monday.


Invest in ourselves

I agree - bringing more investment into our economy is a key. Iinvestment in property does not create new wealth in Dunedin, it just drives up the property costs for everyone else, and results in rent-taking wealth streams out of our economy. External VC investment also results in  some wealth being extracted from the local economy, but it also brings some in, and more importantly results in equity by the local founders.

However, as I keep trying to point out the best thing we can possibly do is to raise ourselves up by our bootstraps- invest in our neighbours, ourselves - meaning all the profits stay here in the local economy.

So kick some of your own money to that guy you know with the bright idea. The early stage venture investing we so desperately need to rebuild our economy is also incredibly risky, it's a pity we don't have a local pool or fund so that people who only have a little to invest can spread their risk in the way that the more wealthy investors can.

I'm sure it's easy for the city to print a glossy brochure at $4 a pop to external investors, but what are they doing to find local investment in ourselves?


The only investment returns quoted in the document relate to property, which is the last thing this city needs.

We need venture capital risked in our startup companies, creating IT jobs and owning our own infrastructure.  Not property speculators to come in and sit on land and charge monopoly rents. 

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