A successful Christchurch economy is critical to Canterbury and national GDP, making government investment to complete the rebuild a must.
That was the message from ChristchurchNZ chief executive Joanna Norris to a capacity crowd at today’s Economic Update event – the first under the banner of the economic development and city profile agency formed on 1 July 2017.
The presentation covered the state of the city and regional economies, provided insights from ChristchurchNZ economists and outlined ChristchurchNZ’s vision and planned work activity.
Joanna said the local economy was in a period of low overall growth, but still with high levels of activity and industry growth in the underlying economy.
“Rebuild growth peaked in 2014 and the strength of the underlying economy has become key. Growth in the business as usual economy is providing stability as the rebuild activity plateaus and declines.”
Other economic indicators presented at the update showed robust employment growth in many sectors, continuing strong migration, high workforce participation levels, low levels of unemployment and good economic growth rates across the region.
Joanna said ChristchurchNZ is forecasting a softening in the overall Canterbury economy, based on what is happening in the city.
“As Christchurch’s economy dominates the Canterbury economy, this forecast also demonstrates the risk to central Government of not adequately investing in the completion of the rebuild.
“The risk is a stagnation of the Christchurch economy with demonstrable flow-on impact. The impact of the Christchurch economy on the South Island regional economy and contribution to the national GDP is significant. Any underinvestment could lead to a loss of confidence,” Joanna said.
She said an investment in Christchurch should be viewed as an in investment in the regions and in the country.
Regeneration Minister Megan Woods has said she is committed to faster, concrete progress on the Canterbury recovery, signalling government wants action and momentum.
Joanna said the Minister’s comments now need to be backed up with the appropriate funding and support from her cabinet colleagues as spending plans are fully costed.
ChristchurchNZ’s vision is to ignite bold ambition for Ōtautahi Christchurch.
“We are here to create excitement, connect change-makers and grow confidence across the city. We know this is a tremendous place and we are committed to telling that story, and making it even better,” Joanna said.
To achieve its goals, ChristchurchNZ is aligning its work across three distinctive and focused pillars of activity: creating and catalysing an innovation and business growth eco-system; providing economic leadership, insights and strategy and policy knowledge and; growing destination and city attraction, including major events.