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Which way will Dunedin go?

Dunedin needs to adjust its attitude if its economy and population is to grow by 2030, AbacusBio partner Anna Campbell comments after the release of a report “The Future of Work: Dunedin”.

The report – presented by the University of Otago's business school – envisaged two very different scenarios for Dunedin’s economy by 2030.

In the bleak scenario, Dunedin stagnates, loses more business, and has a population of 120,000.

In the bright scenario, Dunedin is more multicultural as its population grows to 200,000. Businesses are thriving and the work day has become more flexible.

Anna says the bleak scenario is entirely possible, given the fact that Dunedin residents tend to have a negative attitude towards business.

“Businesspeople are often viewed as greedy corporates without a social conscience,” she explains.

“But that was not the reality, as 'high integrity' people do exciting things in Dunedin businesses.”

Anna believes that Dunedin’s economic growth would be improved by fostering a positive forward-thinking attitude towards businesses, embracing immigration, and relying less on the tertiary education sector.

“There should be more focus on food production, given that New Zealand is so good at it and there is a world food shortage."

“Increased immigration would bring investment, new ideas, and vibrancy to the city.” 

An example of how positive immigration could be for the city is Bruno Santos, who came from Brazil to work for AbacusBio three years ago.

A consultant in AbacusBio, Bruno says “the quality of life in Dunedin is fantastic, but a lack of jobs means that many of his friends had left the city”.

“Finding useful employment for their spouses or partners was one of the biggest challenges,” Anna says.

The research was undertaken by a team of five staff members from the Department of Management – Dr Sara Walton, Dr Paula O’Kane, Dr Diane Ruwhiu, Virginia Cathro, and Rachel Turner, in partnership with the Dunedin City Council.

Sara says the research focuses on the businesses we are likely to see in Dunedin and some of the ways that people will be working up to 50 years from now.

''This report simply outlines what people are thinking about, but we believe it will be the impetus that will kick-start a collective approach to capture and plan for what are presently individual concerns,'' she says.

''We need to start planning for the future now and incorporating ideas into current business planning and strategic thinking.”

Sourced content from Otago Daily Times

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