I’d like to start by acknowledging your President Nigel Babbage.
Next month we mark 9 years since the Feb 22nd quake.
Last year I said to you “we will never forget the experience, nor will we ever stop remembering those who were lost, however we have come to point where that experience no longer defines who we are as a city”. And then we had the terrorist attack of March 15, something I still can’t believe actually happened here. There is no question that this attack added another layer of trauma, but at the same time it provoked the most extraordinary response where people came together and reached out to communities they may not have known so well. We refused to be defined by the terrorist attack, but by the response which was based on unity and compassion.
It has reminded us all that communities lie at the heart of how we respond and recover no matter the nature of the challenge we have had to confront.
I have been asked to reflect on the new Council’s vision for Christchurch and what I see as the opportunities, challenges and the future ahead of us in the next three year term and beyond.
We have many opportunities.
- SI’s largest, NZ’s second largest city
- New, safe and resilient infrastructure
- Four tertiary and strong research institutions
- Strong manufacturing, technology and knowledge services
- Strong partnership with Ngāi Tahu
- Destination and Gateway to the region, SI and Antarctica
- Capacity to grow and have affordable housing
I had a slide last year with the different projects that were coming to fruition. I’ve just picked up the big three for this term – the Convention Centre Oct 2020.
Lyttelton Cruise Berth Nov 2020 and Metro Sports Q1 2022. Both the Convention Centre and the Cruise Berth are major projects with regional benefits. And the Metro Sports Facility which will be the source of major revenue for the city.
The scale of the facilities for a city our size really set us apart, and create a unique offering in New Zealand in terms of lifestyle and opportunity.
We also need to acknowledge the Challenges, if we are to prepare for uncertainties that lie ahead.
Canterbury’s regional GDP growth has been slowing.
And we are transitioning away from the growth stimulus of a rebuild economy.
The Christchurch economy still faces many pre-earthquake challenges. While we have seen the wage gap with the rest of NZ narrowing, several important Christchurch industries continue to lag national industry wage averages. Christchurch and New Zealand’s economies are dominated by small and medium size enterprises and the challenge here is to continue stimulating this sector.
Currently, the investment case for new commercial property is struggling to attract new capital, constraining the city’s capacity to achieve pre-quake land utilisation in the central city. Without a significant increase in demand for new commercial and residential property and the new hospitality and retail offerings, the continued regeneration of the city could stall. The transition away from high construction volumes will see softening economic and employment growth in the short-term.
Our central city has not recovered fully post-quake with employment and population well below pre-quake levels and some newly opened retail and hospitality developments struggling to attract sufficient trade. However, the rebuilt city centre positions Christchurch as city for 21st century living with high quality experiences, public spaces, commercial and residential infrastructure.
At the present time, Christchurch appears to have achieved the critical mass of economic activity necessary for Christchurch residents to return to the CBD for retail, entertainment and leisure purposes. In order to maintain this momentum, Christchurch needs to continue to stimulate economic development of the central city. This is particularly pertinent outside of the main season due to seasonal character of the central city’s economic activity.
The interplay of an aging population and disruptive technology will have a significant impact on our workforce which could unlock new opportunities. Christchurch will need to attract, retain and develop talented people who can drive the city’s future prosperity.
Ōtautahi – Christchurch is a city of opportunity for all open to new ideas, new people and new ways of doing things – a city where anything is possible.
It is this sense of possibility which has captured the imagination of those who are willing to do things differently. And at the same time we are committed to developing resilience in the 21st Century
Given our experiences we need to be resilient in the broadest sense of the word – having the capacity to thrive in the face of diversity.
Our strategic priorities:
Enabling active & connected communities
Meeting climate change challenge
Ensuring a high-quality drinking water supply
Accelerating city momentum
Ensuring rates are affordable and sustainable
To current strengths of Christchurch and Canterbury, matched to global opportunities.
ChristchurchNZ is the city’s economic development and city profile agency charged with igniting bold ambition in the city and the region, generating excitement, connecting changemakers, stimulating economic activity and attracting visitors to Ōtautahi Christchurch.
They provide targeted initiatives to support innovation and business growth while promoting our city nationally and internationally. They aim to ensure our reputation grows as a vibrant and exciting city surrounded by mountains and beaches - a place where our people experiment and test new ideas and innovate in business, technology and society. The city economy’s historical dependence on being a service centre for the region, and the vulnerability of traditional industries in agriculture, tourism and manufacturing to long-term disruption, means transformation of the city’s economy towards high-value export-orientated activity is necessary to reach the prosperity ambitions for the city and ensure Christchurch is nationally and globally relevant.
ChristchurchNZ has been leading a co-created piece of work across the city with industry, iwi, local and central government and tertiaries to define focus sector areas to support this transformation.
The focus areas seek to define areas within the economy where Canterbury has industry and education sector strengths, aligned with global growth opportunities. The Supernodes play to current strengths of Christchurch and Canterbury, matched to global opportunities.
1. Aerospace and Future Transport
2. Health Tech & Well-being
3. Future Food, Fibre and Agri-tech
4. Hi-tech Services
They are now well advanced in building networks, activity, talent and business attraction of the back on this city-wide Supernode focus. These Supernodes will build the Christchurch economy for tomorrow.