The proposed Dunedin waterfront hotel. Image supplied.
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive JohnChristie
extols the benefits to Dunedin of a large hotel with quality
Debate over the hotel proposed for Dunedin's waterfront has
been heavily centred on its appearance, size and location.
Whether it's too tall, or creates wind problems, will be up
to the Dunedin City Council to decide. What the Otago Chamber
of Commerce would ask residents to consider, however, is what
a large hotel with such quality facilities and accommodation
will do for Dunedin.
The benefits to the city's construction industry of a
development that will cost $100 million to build are
impossible to ignore. This is the initial boost - an extra
100 new permanent jobs in Dunedin's economy, and all the
associated needs for services, will be a long-lasting benefit
to the city worth millions.
Then there are the flow-on effects of this development to the
city's tourism industry. This industry has been a shining
light among the gloom of company closures and shifts the city
has seen in the past two decades. A five-star facility is
just what is needed to significantly grow the lucrative
high-end segment of this important economic mainstay. Dunedin
restaurants, tourism operators, the casino, museums and
retailers all stand to benefit. And new employment
opportunities could also come with the type of money this
high-end sector, in particular tourists from China, typically
spend during their visits. There are also 164 self-contained
apartments planned, adding new ratepayers to help share the
load of city funding in the future. A snowball effect, as
other developers are encouraged to invest in the city, is
In making an investment in a five-star hotel with 215
bedrooms, two restaurants and two bars, the developers are
stating their belief in Dunedin, Otago's business community
and tourism industry, and we welcome their interest. They
clearly value what the city has to offer, and believe that
other like-minded people will appreciate its attributes as
The city's strong historic and present links with the Chinese
community are also a major drawcard.
Now is the time to capitalise on those links as trade with
Asia becomes central to New Zealand's economic future. In
terms of Dunedin's history and current relationship with
Shanghai, it is not overly ambitious, but in fact only right
and proper, that Dunedin should enjoy some of this economic
bounty. The Dunedin City Council and partners, including the
chamber, have spent much time and energy creating and
obtaining local approval for the Dunedin Economic Development
Strategy which includes - as one of seven key targets, Links
Beyond Our Borders - improving international investment. And
Dunedin residents themselves have recently rated economic
growth as a critical imperative for the city's future.
Dunedin needs both domestic and international capital to
grow. It sorely needs more jobs. It needs to capitalise on
its popularity as a destination. Now is the time for our city
to put its words into action.