Christchurch is the main healthcare hub for the South Island, providing a large range of medical services. Providers in this sector are engaged in providing human healthcare and social assistance.

A crucial requirement for the provision of these services is a supply of practitioners with the requisite expertise and qualifications. Therefore, the Health sector’s contribution to the region’s economy is significant. Firstly, as an employer that attracts highly-qualified staff and, secondly, because of its reach into education and research and development activities.

Christchurch Quick Facts

  • Contributes approximately $1,358 million to Christchurch GDP (Infometrics’ Estimate year ended June 2014, $2010)
  • Accounts for around eight percent of GDP in Christchurch
  • Around 2,013 business units are based in Christchurch (2014, Statistics New Zealand)
  • Has around 24,580 employees (2014, Statistics New Zealand)
Healthcare and Social Assistance Sector Employment Breakdown, 2014
Source: Statistics New Zealand
Sub-SectorEmployee Count% of Total
Medical and Other Healthcare Services710029%
Residential Care Services644026%
Social Assistance Services21109%

Sector Trends

Changing Demographics

The nature of demand for health and social services is being impacted by two key demographic factors. The first is the ageing population trend, and the expectation that medical care and social assistance will need to be increasingly geared towards the aged. The second is the changing diversity of New Zealand’s population and the cultural and medical needs that are culture-specific.

Technology and Medicine Interface

The New Zealand Health sector is evolving into medical research and development, commercialisation and using new technologies to improve information systems, service quality and reduce costs of production. Examples include the integration of medical records between service providers and the use of simulation and internet technology in training.

Sector Initiatives

New Zealand Health Innovation Hub

Canterbury Development Corporation (CDC) is contributing $1 million over five years to the commercialisation of research and development in the health sector, in partnership with the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB). The Health Innovation Hub is part of a national network.

Health Precinct

The Canterbury District Health Board is leading the development of a Health Precinct intended to cluster medical research, services, training and commercialisation functions near Christchurch Hospital. The precinct is likely to be a key part of the Christchurch central-city redevelopment.

Hospital Investment

The Government has approved a major overhaul of Christchurch and Burwood Hospitals. The project is expected to cost more than half a billion dollars and will be the largest hospital build project in New Zealand’s history.

Health Workforce Planning

The Canterbury District Health Board has conducted a workforce planning process. This is to understand future health workforce needs and enable more informed planning to ensure a strong alignment between skills and the demands of the future Health sector work environment.