This sector covers central and local government organisations and private sector companies that undertake: legislative, executive and judicial activities; provision of physical, social, economic and general public safety and security services; and enforcement of regulations.

The government sector is a significant employer of skilled workers within Christchurch city. While this sector does not drive growth, it is important in providing a well-functioning business environment. Canterbury Development Corporation’s (CDC) economic modelling also indicates that the government sector has strong flow-on benefits to other sectors. The sector has a highly-qualified workforce, with an estimated 57 percent of employees having a tertiary qualification. This leads to the estimated relatively high productivity of the sector.

The Christchurch City Council (CCC) is a major employer in the city, primarily in the central city.

Central government also has a significant presence in Christchurch, including: the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC); Inland Revenue Department (IRD); Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZ); New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA); Ministry of Social Development (Work and Income) (MSD); Ministry of Education (MinEdu); Immigration New Zealand (INZ); Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE); Statistics New Zealand; Department of Conservation (DoC); Land Information New Zealand (LINZ); and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA); as well as Crown Research Institutes (CRIs). The New Zealand Army has a base just outside Christchurch at Burnham.

Christchurch Quick Facts

  • Contributes approximately $559 million to Christchurch GDP (Infometrics’ Estimate year ended June 2014, $2010)
  • Accounts for around three percent of GDP in Christchurch
  • Around 247 business units are based in Christchurch (2014, Statistics New Zealand)
  • Has around 8,560 employees (2014, Statistics New Zealand)
Public Administration and Safety Sector Employment Breakdown, 2014
Source: Statistics New Zealand
Sub-sectorEmployee Count% of Total
Public Administration422049%
Defence701%
Public Order, Safety and Regulatory Services428050%
Total8,560

Sector Trends

Earthquake Effects

The earthquake boosted the number of people employed in sectors servicing the immediate recovery, including civil defence. The creation of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) to guide the city through the recovery period has boosted employment in the sector, bringing in skilled workers from around the country on secondment.

Many government workers were required to vacate their central-city premises following the earthquakes. The Government has announced its plans to relocate government departments into the central city. This is expected to help drive the re-establishment of private sector businesses in the CBD.

Sector Initiatives

Justice and Emergency Services Precinct

The development of a Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct is a Christchurch Central Recovery Plan Anchor Project that will bring together all justice and emergency services in one purpose-built, world-class precinct in central Christchurch. The development is the largest multi-agency government co-location project in New Zealand’s history. An estimated 2,000 people will work in or use the 40,000 square-metre precinct daily. At the peak of construction, 400-500 people will be employed. The precinct is the first major public building to be built in Christchurch by the Government since the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.