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Tiny town overwhelmed by overseas interest

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/07/2016 Cleo Fraser
South Otago © Getty Images South Otago

A tiny New Zealand town has been inundated with interest from around the world after launching a drive to fill job vacancies with the lure of cheap housing.

Picturesque Kaitangata, in south Otago, has a population of just 800 but has more than 1000 jobs in the area that need to be filled.

To encourage more people to the area residents launched a campaign earlier this year which includes offering $230,000 land and house package deals.

Bryan Cadogan, mayor of the Clutha District Council, says recent interest from international media including the BBC and Guardian has sparked intense interest in the scheme from around the world.

"All of a sudden in a blink of an eye it's gone right around the world and keeps reverberating around and around," he told NZ Newswire on Friday.

"My Facebook page has got over 5000 inquiries - it's just about impossible to answer each and every one of them.

"We've been caught on the hop - we've done too well."

Asked why there'd been so much interest, he said: "I think with so much unease in the world people are sort of looking for that escape button".

Those who have written to the mayor are mostly from the United Kingdom, central Europe and Australia.

"But some (of the messages) I can't read because they're in a different language and I just don't know how they came across the story," Mr Cadogan said.

The jobs on offer are across the spectrum and include skilled and unskilled positions, but are mainly in the logging, freezing works and dairy industries.

"We are a rural economy and that's where the jobs come from," Mr Cadogan said.

"I suppose we're lucky that all of New Zealand's main players have set up in our district."

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