CEO comment 4 May 2021

04 May 2021

Virginia webI feel very privileged to have worked as OSEA’s CEO for the past five years, supporting business across Otago and Southland.  I’m proud of what we have achieved together, and I’m extremely grateful to the incredible OSEA team who have worked tirelessly. 

With the merger of OSEA and the Otago Chamber of Commerce (OCC), I made the decision not to apply for the CEO role at the new ‘Business South’.  The time is now right for me to explore other opportunities.  You can read more in the ODT.

Business associations need to evolve and change, and the merger with the OCC is the beginning of a new way of operating to meet the future needs of business in our region. 

The announcement for the inaugural Chief Executive of ‘Business South’ will be announced soon, and we will provide an update as soon as it is available.  In the interim, I will remain in the OSEA role.

We are very pleased to welcome the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon Grant Robertson, to both Dunedin and Invercargill for post-Budget briefings this month.  You can find out more here.

We are looking forward to seeing many of you at our Health & Safety Forum in Dunedin and Invercargill next month.  Attendees will enjoy an engaging programme featuring inspiring and expert speakers, who will help us examine the relationship between wellbeing and the workplace.

It is more important than ever to understand how businesses are supporting their employees’ wellbeing.  Through our BusinessNZ network, in partnership with Southern Cross Health Insurance, the biennial Workplace Wellness survey is now open and we need your input.  You can fill out the survey here.

We have welcomed the announcement of increased border exceptions to allow family reunification for some migrant workers in New Zealand.  The exceptions will be for the families of health care workers and a small number of high-skilled workers in other sectors.  You can find out more here.

The Hon Chris Hipkins recently announced that the number of apprentices has grown by 17.6% compared to 2019.  Supporting businesses to train on-the-job is an effective way of developing the skills pipeline, and we are calling for the scheme to be a permanent fixture.  You can read more here from the Minister.  

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please do let me know.

Ngā mihi nui \ with kind regards,


Virginia Nicholls | CEO |

Copyright 2021 | Otago Southland Employers' Association | All Rights Reserved | Website by Punch Marketing