Multinational cinema chain to base back-office in Wellington

Cinema and property business Reading International is to base its global accounting team in Wellington, strengthening the city's position as a film industry hub.

Seventeen new jobs have been created as a result of the decision, all filled by New Zealanders.

The company's US-based chief financial officer Andrzej Matyczynski said consolidating the global accounting function in New Zealand made sense for a number of reasons.

“The key things for us are that, compared with our other markets in Australia and the United States, wage costs in New Zealand are very competitive, the currency is favourable and you have a very stable labour market with skilled finance workers.”

In addition, Mr Matyczynski said that as New Zealand financial reporting conforms to International Financial Reporting Standards, which are similar to the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, only a limited training period will be required for the new team.

The new staff, who are based at the company's flagship Courtenay Central entertainment and retail complex, began training last month and will run parallel systems in July to those presently running in the US, before they “go live” in August, he said.

One of the challenges they will face is working across three time zones, connecting with New York in the morning and Perth, Australia, in the afternoon, he said.

“Communication will be a big issue as it has to be clear and reliable.”

Reading spent $1 million refurbishing its Wellington offices and upgrading the IT systems to cope with the change.

Mr Matyczynski said the economy will benefit from an annual injection of $1.5 million worth of new wages thanks to the 20-strong team being based in Wellington.

Employers Chamber of Commerce central region chief executive Ken Harris welcomed the move.

"It reinforces the financial and operational advantages the city offers.

"We will continue to promote a friendly business environment to encourage more international business to follow suit."