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Telecom News Reinforces Need For Government Action

Telecom News Reinforces Need For Government Action

News that Telecom NZ is considering closing its Hutt-based call centre and consolidating it with its Hamilton call centre, with the loss of 200 jobs, is a severe blow to Hutt City, said Mayor John Terris.

"Assuming that the decision is not a foregone conclusion, we will be building a case for Telecom to maintain its presence here," said Mayor Terris.

"However, it is disappointing that Telecom has not seen fit to consult with us over the decision, apart from a letter yesterday informing us that the review was taking place, and has not made any approach to Council about any assistance we may be able to offer to keep their operation here."

Hutt City Council developed an Economic Development Strategy in 2002 and, in its Annual Plan 2002/03 earmarked $580,000 for a number of initiatives aimed at retaining and growing existing businesses and attracting new ones to the city.

"Council has recognised for a number of years that we need to do more than simply set regulatory frameworks and hope that businesses will see the benefits of basing themselves here."

"We have adopted a very proactive approach in our business relationships and in this instance we are not going to sit back and wave goodbye to 200 jobs. It would be good to sit down with the company and see what we could do."

"This latest setback certainly represents a challenge for us, but we have seen tough times in the past, particularly with the demise of the New Zealand automobile assembly industry, and we have come through them."

"If this relocation were to proceed, it would be a blow for not only the city, but the region, especially following on announced plans by Griffins to relocate its operations to Auckland, involving 300 jobs. My regional Mayoral colleagues and I will be seeking an early opportunity to discuss with local MPs their ideas to halt this drift north, which places further burden on Auckland's creaking infrastructure and further erodes the Wellington Region's economic base. This is surely a matter for Government action", Mayor Terris concluded.

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