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October, 2020

International tech firms could soon have offices at a new Queenstown
innovation campus, providing a piece of land can be found.
Former developer Ross Allan, who brought Dell to New Zealand in the
late 90s, says hes lined up household names for tenancies and has an
investor in the wings.
Hes now looking for a location that fulfills the main requirement of
taking in the Wakatipu Basins stunning views and lack of urban sprawl.
Startup Queenstown Lakes boss Olivia Wensley says its a golden
opportunity and theres support from both sides of parliament for
something like it.
She says Labour finance man Grant Robertson indicated support for that
type of idea over dinner, while Nationals Judith Collins committed to
making tech jobs, especially in Queenstown, a priority.
Allan wont name the firms hes talking to, but says theyre keen to find
a way to retain workers whove had enough of the rat-race in big cities.
He says cash incentives and shares only go so far to retain high-level
staff who yearn for the outdoors or to raise a family.
People in the tech space and Im not necessarily talking about ICT,
want a life, they think, can I do my work in a place I can better value
my spare time?
Allan also says therell be jobs for Kiwis, either through collaboration or
roles spawned by the new offices.
Further, he says the people using the campus are likely to be well paid,
meaning a welcome boost for the hard-hit hospo sector.
The allure of Queenstowns one Allan knows well himself, having come
here from Auckland in the early 2000s to raise a family.
After three years of work, he says plans are nearing fruition, and a
design for the campus could be ready in six months.
Should it get off the ground, Allan says theres opportunity for domestic
and international
businesses to find a home, but he also wants to be tenant-selective.
You dont want start-ups unless they are well funded, if we
[Queenstown] want to economically diversify.
Wensley says having mature companies will create an ecosystem
for Kiwi start-ups to feed off, and even suggests some big-firm
employees may spin off to launch their own tech ideas.
Its such a golden opportunity and we need to throw full support
behind it as a community.
Wensley says a tech campus will also help keep Wakatipu High School
leavers in the area, who otherwise leave in search of higher education
or work.
Allan says he has an internationally-recognised university keen to run
short executive
courses from within the campus or remotely.
Hes hoping to bring a Kiwi university on board, too.
Queenstown Chamber of Commerce boss Craig Douglas welcomes the
suggestion, saying
anything that brings diversification to the economy has to be a good
He says Covid-19 stated the case for working remotely and saw people
take stock of their lives over lockdown.
Some of their priorities will be shifting and where they live may be
more of an issue for them.
There are various examples of satellite offices all around the world
and Queenstown can easily piggyback on that concept.

Source: Mountain Scene


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