3 mins to read

Xero opening Hawke's Bay office, local MPs sense opportunity

Software company denies it's fleeing the quake-prone capital.

Fri, 18 Nov 2016

Xero plans to open an office in Hawke's Bay in the New Year.

NBR's immediate question: Does the move have anything to do with covering the software company's bases following the recent quake?

Xero comms head Alex Mercer says the move was planned long before the Kaikoura rumble.

No staff are being moved out of Wellington. The 30 employees at the new regional office will all be net additions. Initially, they'll be working in customer experience (CX) and payroll (apply here)."

Ms Mercer says all-up, Xero has 1513 staff globally, with about 500 in Wellington and around 300 in Auckland. The rest are spread over offices in Australia, the US and the UK.

Hawke's Bay also happens to be Xero founder and CEO Rod Drury's hometown.

In response to a Twitter quip about making the change to shorten his commute (Mr Drury has at times been a critic of Air NZ cutbacks to regional routes), he joked back "if you have to wear pants the commute is too long."

In a more serious vein, he says, "the Xero Hawke’s Bay office demonstrates the company’s commitment to New Zealand and the importance of creating regional technology employment opportunities.

“It used to be that people needed to live in the major cities to accelerate their technology careers, but that’s changing quickly.

“Along with the advent of the cloud, new technology has flattened the world to allow people who want a fulfilling job with a good life balance to do so from beautiful places like Hawke’s Bay.

“Opening this new office provides that opportunity to draw on talent across Hawke’s Bay and lessens the burden on housing and transport in cities like Auckland and Wellington – win-win.”

Institute of IT Professionals head Paul Matthews tells NBR, "We would certainly welcome the establishment of bases in the regions. We're lucky in New Zealand that we have highly skilled, highly educated individuals throughout New Zealand. In this day and age there should be no barrier to working from the regions. A good, forward-looking step by Xero."

Finding digs
Xero is working with Wallace Development on the feasibility of taking space in the new Tech Hub development in Ahuriri, Napier, which is being converted from a wool store to offices with shared spaces and services for communities of entrepreneurs, freelancers and start-ups. Telecommunications company Now and local software company Red Jungle are confirmed tenants. The development is set for completion early next year.

Xero has rolled out politicians from both sides of the fence to support its regional play.

Small Business Minister and Tukituki MP Craig Foss proffers, “Fibre has enabled world-leading innovative companies, such as Xero, to be based in our stunning region — living and working the dream. Xero’s new office is a real vote of confidence and will provide more employment opportunities, especially for young professionals.”

And Napier MP and Labour Economic Development spokesman Stuart Nash says, “Rod Drury and Xero is a real Hawke’s Bay success story and it’s fantastic that he has shown enough confidence in the region to locate a centre here. This is a real opportunity for Hawke’s Bay to prove it can be a centre of excellence and provide the sort of skills companies like Xero require. If we get this right, I see a very bright future for the tech sector and Hawke’s Bay over the medium-to-long term.”

© All content copyright NBR. Do not reproduce in any form without permission, even if you have a paid subscription.
Xero opening Hawke's Bay office, local MPs sense opportunity