Christie's new role: enterprise required

Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie is the new Enterprise Dunedin director....
Otago Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie is the new Enterprise Dunedin director. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Christie is transferring his skills to the Dunedin City Council as its new Enterprise Dunedin director.

He takes up the role - which involves economic development and city marketing - in late October.

Mr Christie has been a passionate advocate for business in Otago during his 21 years with the chamber and told the Otago Daily Times yesterday he remained impassioned about Dunedin and the region as a whole.

''I love Dunedin. It is a place I have chosen to stay and bring up my family.

"I am a product of the good training received from so many people.

"I have been loyal to them and they have been loyal to me in their mentoring, advice and sometimes harassment.''

Mr Christie has not always had a easy relationship with the council.

He admitted there were times when he wondered what he faced some days but knew he was there to get the voices of business heard in the city.

''It's not always easy taking a different position from the city on some issues.

"Sometimes it gets personal but I am just doing my job to the best of my ability to make a change. I wouldn't change anything.''

DCC chief executive Sue Bidrose was delighted with Mr Christie's appointment.

''It's fantastic to have someone in this role who is familiar with the economic base of the city and who has made such a great contribution already to business growth and the tourism sector.''

Mr Christie said economic development was not easy and a long-term view was needed.

The chamber had combined with the city, tertiary institutions and Ngai Tahu to develop an economic development strategy for Dunedin, which was already working well, he said.

Asked about his network of contacts worldwide, Mr Christie said New Zealand had few people who understood economic development and it was rare to find people with experience.

Former DCC chief executive Paul Orders understood the need for ongoing development and remained willing to help, he said.

Also, the city's links with Shanghai were paying dividends with further announcements likely soon, Mr Christie said.

Otago chamber chairwoman Ali Copeman said Mr Christie's new appointment was a massive loss for the chamber but an equally massive gain for the city.

Under Mr Christie's leadership, the chamber had grown from a small organisation to the second-largest chamber in the country.

The council received 37 applications for the position.


The Christie file

John Christie

• Aged 46.

• Married with three children.

• Educated at Otago Boys' High School and the University of Otago.

• Joined Otago Chamber of Commerce in 1993 in an administration position and became chief executive in 1995.


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