29 Apr 2013

Wellington urged to make best of advantages

2:15 pm on 29 April 2013

The head of fast-growing public company Xero says as government shrinks and Wellington's economy stalls, opportunities for employment and growth must be developed in other areas.

In a recent report from economic researcher Infometrics Wellington ranked 15th out of 16 regions for economic growth and 11th for employment growth.

Infometrics says job losses, and fear of job losses, in the public service is partially to blame for the economic difficulties of the region which is teetering on a recession-like state.

The downturn in manufacturing, and employers that rely on government contracts not hiring staff are also to blame.

A spokesperson for Xero, Rod Drury, says one of the most promising opportunities is the development of high quality contact centres that can be set up in Wellington for less than 60% of the cost in Melbourne - and companies need to know this.

Mr Drury told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme on Monday it is up to the region's business leaders to bundle the advantages Wellington has on available premises, skilled workers and set-up costs, and go out and sell them.

Employers Chamber of Commerce Central chief executive Raewyn Bleakley says the capital should capitalise on its expertise in the service sector, a high knowledge economy and a skilled workforce.

Despite the bleak local economy, Infometrics says the median wage is higher than elsewhere in the country.