Tuesday’s ODT led with two good news stories.
The first is Children’s TV for NHNZ:
Dunedin’s NHNZ is preparing to take on the likes of Disney with the launch of its own international children’s television channel.
NHNZ managing director Kyle Murdoch said, in preparation for the launch of the channel next February, 54 staff were hard at work in Dunedin producing content for it.
About 40 were new staff who had joined the office since the middle of this year. . .
About 40 new staff – these will be skilled jobs and this venture will earn export income.
And that’s not all NHNZ is doing:
Other exciting projects were under way at NHNZ, including the co-development with a Korean company of technology to transfer two-dimensional film into three dimensions.
”If you go and convert this stuff in Hollywood, it’s going to cost you about $10,000 a minute to convert, but with this technology we aim to convert it for between $10,000 and $20,000 an hour.”
The second story is more uni students expected:
Student numbers are expected to increase at the University of Otago next year, turning around three years of declining enrolments at the institution.
The prediction student numbers would rise by 1.7% to 18,918 full-time equivalent students (Efts) next year was made in the university’s budget for next year, which was tabled at yesterday’s council meeting – its last for the year.
The budget, along with the university’s forecast performance for this year, also tabled at the meeting, added to a picture of the university being in a strong financial position in the face of a challenging funding environment. . .
The university is one of the city’s biggest employers. The servicing and supplying of students and staff is also a large part of the Dunedin’s economy.
The city has been in the doldrums, partly because of the perception it hasn’t been getting its fair share of public spending. That isn’t the case and the university is one area where the government puts a lot of money.
But sustainable growth shouldn’t rely on public funding which can come and go. It must be built on a foundation of local individuals and businesses with the will and skills to prosper.
Both these stories show Dunedin can turn pick itself up by building on its strengths which include sound existing businesses with the potential to expand.
Another is the university which is one of the city’s biggest assets in financial and social terms.
It gets public funding and has the ability to earn extra export income from foreign students. It creates jobs directly and indirectly and provides opportunities for businesses which service and supply those who work and study there.
Today’ there’s another exciting headline – project worth ‘millions’ to city.
A major international investor is eyeing Dunedin with plans that could pump ”tens of millions of dollars” into the city’s economy, the Otago Chamber of Commerce says.
The unnamed organisation is in talks with members of a new Dunedin investment panel, created by the chamber, the Dunedin City Council and other city organisations, and hopes to progress plans next year.
Chamber chief executive John Christie said the development, if confirmed, would be in a ”key area” of strength for the city, and involve land, construction and a ”significant” number of new jobs for the city.
”We’re talking about tens of millions of dollars of new opportunity from the city.
”This is good. This is one of the city’s key strengths that we would be building on,” he said.
He stressed the opportunity was yet to be secured, and other New Zealand centres were also in the running, but believed Dunedin was well placed. . .
This bird is still in the bush and it’s too early to start counting its chickens but it is good to see the city being proactive.
The opportunity involved one of ”about eight” organisations now in talks with the new Dunedin investment panel, he said. . .
It comprised representatives from the chamber, council, the Otago Southland Employers’ Association and the tertiary sector, and there were plans to invite other members, as needed, Mr Christie said.
The panel aimed to improve city-wide communication and co-ordinate efforts to help attract potential investors to the city, as well as protect established Dunedin businesses and help them grow, he said.
”What we’re trying to do with that group is get the people that can make a difference around the table to understand what the issues are, and be able to make contact with those companies to see what, if anything, we can do.
”For whatever reason, some things can fall through the gaps … there’s a range of different options that can be put to people if only we know about them.”
One of the first topics of conversation for panel members had been to identify lessons from the handling of Betterways’ bid to build its $100 million, 27-storey hotel.
”I think there’s a lot of lessons learned from a lot of players, both internal and external to council, that can see that there’s a whole lot of things that perhaps we could do to be supportive as a city,” Mr Christie said. . .
Those are important lessons which the city must learn to ensure the city is supportive to existing businesses and new ones.