Thoughts on the sponsored Microsoft article in NZ Herald

Posted on: April 8, 2021 - 10:36 By: carl

A "Sponsored Story" has appeared in the NZ Herald written by Microsoft and touting how their new datacentre 'could' drive 'billions of euros worth of investment' and create 'thousands of new jobs'. It has received a lot of positive feedback on LinkedIn(1) of course. While I applaud investment in New Zealand I don't think these claims stand up to very much scrutiny for the following reasons.

  1. For sure, there will be some jobs available during the construction phase but will they be 'new' or just existing workers moving on to the next construction project. Probably a mixture and likely less than a hundred.
  2. Once the building is complete any required cabling will probably be done to MS specifications by an existing local provider so no real new jobs there either.
  3. The infrastructure equipment itself is very likely to be pre-racked and shipped as ready to plug items and will be assembled by experienced MS employees shipped in and out as needed so nothing new there for NZ.
  4. Once commissioned the sites will be 'dark' with possibly only security staff onsite... maybe a dozen or so new roles at close to minimum wage maybe.
  5. All operational aspects will be run from overseas based datacentre control facilities... so no New Zealand based employment there either. 
  6. All income from services hosted on these facilities will be channeled offshore (to Ireland as the 'owning entity') so that is a total loss to the New Zealand economy.
  7. Most services that employ New Zealanders that are likely to be built in the cloud would be built with or without having a local datacentre... the only reason to have it here in the first place is to cater for people who actually believe in local sovereignty and that is a very small subset and most likely Govt.

So overall it is pretty much a puff piece with no tangible benefits... but it has achieved its main purpose of casting MS in a good light. And so many people has bought straight into it.

(1) Owned by Microsoft