Dunedin is positioning itself to become a hub for
national and international call centres, as part of a push to
grow the city's economy.
The Otago Daily Times has been told an international
company with plans to establish a call centre base in New
Zealand had been considering bringing about 150 jobs to
Dunedin earlier this year.
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) regional manager Ken
Aitcheson, of Dunedin, confirmed that when contacted, saying
the unnamed company's move ''was an opportunity that came
across our desk''.
The idea stalled when the company decided to ''step back and
have a think'' until at least next year, and it was not known
if the opportunity would present itself again, he said.
However, council staff were hoping to tap into similar
interest as they worked on a new strategy to attract call
centre companies to the city, it has been confirmed.
Dunedin City Council economic development manager Des
Adamson said the strategy sought to promote the city's points
of difference to companies and deliver a boost to the city's
The key would be to understand the companies' needs, and
offer something not found in other centres, he believed.
''We really need to know what actually is turning them on,''
The initiative was part of the city's wider economic
development strategy and had the potential to bear fruit,
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie
The council had unveiled a new investment prospectus earlier
this year, designed to attract high-wealth national and
international investors, but now wanted to target specific
sectors, including call centres, he said.
The ODT understands talks with operators are ongoing.
Mr Christie said the city had ramped up its efforts to secure
opportunities this year.
''Obviously, at some point, we're going to get somebody who's
got that interest and we'll succeed in it. It's just a
question of when.''
Dunedin's mix of available office space, including vacant or
underutilised heritage buildings, an educated workforce and
digital infrastructure made the city ''quite an attractive
proposition'', he believed.
Any new arrival would not be the first, as Fisher and Paykel,
the Accident Compensation Corporation and Contact Energy are
among operators already together employing hundreds of call
centre staff in the city.
Mr Christie said the sector was only one area being targeted,
but he would be ''pretty excited'' if more jobs could be
The city's students could be well-placed to secure call
centre jobs, especially those with language and computer
skills, he believed.